Éy St’elmexw St’elt’ílém - GOOD MEDICINE SONGS
Chapter 3 - 2023
In spring 2023, Good Medicine Songs did a collaborative songwriting project with grade 10 students at Imagine High Integrated Arts & Technology Secondary in Chilliwack, BC.
The project brought together a diverse partnership of sponsors, school district, school, university and Indigenous organizations. It's success was driven by the exceptional teachers who laid the ground work for their students to shine.
We had no idea how 15- and 16-year olds would respond to being asked to sing in Halq'eméylem. They embraced the experience with whole hearts, minds and spirits!
Here is the story of Listen to the Stream.
The culmination was a concert in the Imagine High Theatre on June 21, 2024, to celebrate National Day of Indigenous Peoples. Here is the full concert that aired on Shaw Multicultural.
"This project proved to be one of the most beautiful examples authentic cross-curricular learning at our school. Students embraced the opportunities to learn in an authentic, and in particular, built deep and sustaining relationships to language, the land and community. It served as an example of what reconciliation could look life from a practical, relational level - they truly internalized the learning and emerged as allies and contributors, with a commitment to be future stewards of nature." Brooke Haller, Principal, Imagine High
"Our climate and ecosystems have suffered mainly because of humans and their effect on the world. During our time researching and working at S.A.Y. land and Parr Road, it has really opened my eyes to what has been happening to our land and ecosystems. At Parr Road there used to be a lot of trees but now there are barely any due to the settlers cutting them down to make houses and build roads. With our restoration work we are trying to transform that area back to what it was before, by planting trees that can survive with the climate getting warmer over the years. We need to do more, my generation and yours. Doing something to help is just and arm's length away. Our salmon, our bears, our trees, our people. The community of BC and Chilliwack, we can create change." Sam, Student.
The project received great coverage from earned media, thanks to the efforts of publicists at Tire Stewardship BC and Interchange Recycling.
And it didn't end there! Imagine High students joined Good Medicine Songs to perform in a series of events through the summer and fall. The Chowiyes-Xwithet/Rise Up-Wake Up! Gathering, hosted by the University of the Fraser Valley, took place on Sept 28, 2024 in celebration of National Day of Truth and Reconcilation.
On Nov 16, 2023, Imagine High students got on a bus at 5:30am to travel to the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver. We performed in the Grand Ballroom for 600 delegates attending the BC School Superintendents' Association annual conference. They erupted in a standing ovation!!
“What a performance! I had so many people from the conference making positive comments about the student performance. For many, it was a highlight of the conference for them – and it forever sets a high bar for future exhibitions. It sets that high bar because — on so many important levels – what the partnership accomplished is such rare air. Combining all the aspects of learning, curriculum, the arts, Indigenization, community leadership, language revitalization, authenticity, and voices for change…wow!”
Thanks again for your team’s work on this with us – it was transformative, not just for the students, but for all the adults as well. It showed everyone the potential that exists in our learning communities.”
Kirk Savage, Assistant Superintendent
Chilliwack School District (Host district for the BC School Superintendent's Association conference 2023.)