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School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha)
Working Together for Student Success

Okanagan Mainline Indigenous Support Workers Conference

Thursday, April 26th & Friday, April 27th, 2018

The Centre for Learning ("E" Building), Okanagan College Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Rd., Kelowna, BC V1Y 4X8 

(see map below)

 **Online Registration is now closed for this conference 


Thursday, April 26th​Friday, April 27th

4:00 - 5:00 Registration

5:00 - 6:30  - Opening: Chief Roxanne Lindley

     Acknowledgement - Elder Grouse

     Social Bingo

6:30 - 7:30 - Dinner

7:30 - 9:00 - Entertainment

7:15 - Registration Opens

7:30 - 8:30 - Light Snack and Coffee

8:30 - Richard Armstrong and Jo-Anne De Guevara

9:00 - 10:30 - Keynote: Roy Henry Vickers

10:30 - 10:45 - Coffee

10:45 - 12:00 - Session 1

12:00 - 12:45 - Lunch

12:45 - 1:15 - Michif Gals

1:15 - 1:25 - Transition Break

1:25 - 2:30 - Session 2

2:30 - 2:45 - Coffee

2:45 - 4:00 - Session 3

4:00 - 4:15 - Closing 


Session Descriptions

Please refer to the following descriptions and choose one workshop to attend for each session. Class Sizes are limited to 20 participants.

Session One    10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m

1)      Aboriginal Dance Play

 Roxane Letterlough and Trudi Nielsen, District Aboriginal Resource Teachers, SD #73

Aboriginal DANCEPL3Y (dance-play) is a high-energy physical activity program that "plays" with dance while promoting positive mental health through the 3 Rules of PL3Y: Be Positive. Be Fun. Be Yourself.

We are excited and proud to share with you the dances that were choreographed by a team comprised of students and teachers from SD73, teacher candidates from TRU, and the Program Director for DANCEPL3Y.  The dances have been designed to develop physical literacy while introducing students to various cultural references, or stories from Aboriginal people across Canada.


Lana Lebler, Aboriginal Youth and Family Counsellor, SD #67

Why is anxiety such a major challenge for students and staff?  Learn some practical tools to guide yourself and students through stress and anxiety, supporting mental wellness through aboriginal perspectives of healing through your whole self. 

3)    Healing Workshop (Brushing)

Mary Louie, Elder, Lower Similkameen Indian Band

This is an ongoing workshop that will be offered all day. You must register on a sign-up sheet that will be available. Due to the fact that there is no time limit set for each person, it is up to you to keep checking when your name is coming up. Our apologies but there is no way to tell how much help is needed for each individual and Mary doesn't want to take away time if the person needs it.

4)    Language Workshop

Tyler Ernst, Okanagan Language Teacher, SD#23, (Okanagan Nation)  

Okanagan Language: waý (Hello).  kʷu limt p cyʕap (we are glad you have arrived).  In this session, participants will have an opportunity to acquire some introductory Okanagan Language in a fun, inclusive and relaxed atmosphere.

5)     THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   Okanagan Culture Teachings____THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   

Richard Armstrong, Knowledge Keeper Syilx Nation / En'owkin Centre TEK, (Traditional Ecological Knowledge)

This workshop tries to lay out the syilx understanding and teachings in a way that is useful in the classroom. The workshop will provide teachers, teacher's aids and Indigenous liaison workers with knowledge about the four food chiefs' skmʼxist, ntytyix, spʼiƛ̓əm and yukʼʷyukʼʷps. This workshop will provide them with an understanding of how relevant the syilx world view is. That knowledge of the syilx culture and our understanding of science and bio-diversity will help teachers, and liaison workers that are in the classrooms to be able to tie syilx knowledge to things like science and the environment. Many of the workers in the schools do not have that kind of knowledge and are often asked to talk about Traditional Ecological Knowledge. 


 Launa Payne and Laura Dolha, Indigenous Educators and First Nation's women (Xaxtsa Nation and Dakelh Nation)

Launa and Laura have collaborated to channel their mutual passion for outdoor education and place based knowledge into a hands on workshop geared towards Primary and Intermediate Teachers. The workshop includes a variety of games, stories and activities that encompass traditional Indigenous beliefs while incorporating curriculum outcomes. Participants can expect to try out these activities and will leave with a variety of ideas for deepening Indigenous Education across the curriculum areas in a natural setting.

7)        WITHDRAWN  Sharing Circle  WITHDRAWN  

 Yvonne Courtney and Tresha Stevens , Indigenous Outreach Workers, SD#83

This session offers a Talking circle based on the sacred tradition of sharing circles. The facilitator leading a traditional sharing circle will have a blessing from an Elder to do this, and will use special prayers and sacred objects in the ceremony. We hope to open with an Elder's blessing, a prayer or smudging ceremony from one of the facilitators.

"The purpose of the less formal talking circle is to create a safe environment in which participants can share their point of view with others. In a Talking Circle, each one is equal and each one belongs. Participants in a Talking Circle learn to listen and respect the views of others. The intention is to open hearts to understand and connect with one another."


Eric Mitchell, Chris Marchand, Bill Cohen and Natalie Chambers, SD #22             

The Storytelling sessions will discuss Okanagan storytelling in general, but with a focus on Story of Our Ways, its development and production.  Story Of Our Ways takes two of the four Food Chiefs and interweaves, storytelling, history, language and culture with an aim to make this Okanagan knowledge accessible from Kindergarten to grade 12.  It is accompanied by a series of videos.  The entire package is from the perspectives of knowledge keepers from the Okanagan Indian Band.

9)   Traditional Games

 Wes Sandy, Indigenous Education Worker SD #83

Learn three Traditional Games (based on space and weather):

First, , we will start with a Rabbit hunting game - when adults are away hunting large game, the young ones needed to learn to hunt small game. Basically a rock throwing lesson.

The second game is also a teaching tool used to develop the young ones eye and hand co-ordination.  Students will throw small blunt arrows at hoops of various sizes, rolled across the field and also tossed in the air.

Third and time permitting; I will also demonstrate the Knobby game (settle land claim issues and disputes).  We probably will not plan an actual game because of time required and also guests are too dressed up.

I will also bring along a few extra hand games.

10)    THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL    Trauma Informed Practice   THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL  

Toni Jestadt, Social Emotional Learning Teacher/District Behaviour Specialist, SD #23

Trauma Informed Practice in schools creates learning communities and environments where every student and staff feels safe, connected, and supported. In any given school, at least one quarter of the students have experienced significant traumatic or adverse experiences. When staff understands how trauma affects the brain, behaviour, and emotions, they can actively work to mitigate environmental aspects that have the potential to decrease safety and foster environmental aspects that are likely to increase safety. Staff can choose strategies that show empathy, build quality connections with students, and help to create a safe environment, where students can learn positive ways of handling emotions and relating to others.

 Session Two   1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m

1)    Aboriginal Dance Play (this is a repeat of Session 1)

Refer to the description in Session 1

2)      Anxiety Workshop (this is a repeat of Session 1)

Refer to the description in Session 1 

3)      Embracing Syilx Wellness 

Pamela Barnes, Okanagan Indigenous Educator, and Wilfred Barnes, Okanagan Language and Cultural Educator; Okanagan Elders, Westbank First Nation

Traditional Okanagan Wellness practices for self-care that you can share with your students. 

This session will acknowledge the importance of our seasonal-land based learning as well as introduce some of our healing helpers; water, land, smudge, and ceremony. Participants will have the opportunity to make their own smudge bundle and feather.

4)      THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL       Hands On Artistry    THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL

 Jeanette Lezard, Colville Tribe, and Helen Gallagher, District Teacher: Indigenous Education, SD#53

Learn to make baby moccasins! You must sign up for the 2 sessions if you want to make the baby moccasins. There will be a $20.00 hide fee, bring that with you. If you don't want to make the moccasins, you can sign up for one session. In that one session you can create one of five other crafts that you'll be able to teach your students, such as various types of dolls, yarn basket, necklace, headdress, etc.

5)      Healing Workshop (Brushing) (this is an on-going workshop) 

Refer to the description in Session 1 

6)      Laughter Yoga

Kate Fagervik  BFA, Curriebird Yoga Studio, Enderby, BC, founder of and Hail Mary! Press

Did you know that 15+ minutes of sustained laughter can enhance creativity, build team spirit, release endorphins and prevent burnout?!   Prepare to replace stress with joy!

Developed in 1995 by Dr. Madam Kataria, MD and his yogi wife Madhuri Kataria, the practice of Laughter Yoga was born in a park with the intention to create World peace through laughter. Together we will join the thousands of Worldwide Laughter Clubs as we explore deep breathing (pranayama), gentle stretching, and laughter yoga exercises designed to cultivate a childlike sense of playfulness.  We will learn to laugh for no reason, experiencing the connection of our minds and bodies as we simulate to stimulate, using motion to move emotion.

Laughter yoga will work your abs, express your feelings, relax your muscles and lower your blood pressure while providing a creative outlet for stress/trauma release.  Wear clothes that you can move in, bring a water bottle, and prepare to feel a whole lot lighter!

7)      THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   Medicine Wheel Workshop   THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   

Dodie Jones, Indigenous Education Worker, SD #83 

This workshop will include the Indigenous Story of Creation, a sharing of the Turtle Island story, and a sharing of Cree knowledge of the Medicine Wheel Concept:

  1. Who taught Me.
  2. Cree Concept
  3. Understanding of how there are many Teachings/Sharings of the Medicine Concept and how we are told none of these teachings around the Medicine Wheel are wrong.
  4. Basic Teachings of the Medicine Wheel as I have been taught by my Mentor.
  5. Gifts for participants:  Offering Pouches. Brief teaching around traditional offerings.

8)       THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   Okanagan Culture Teachings (this is a repeat of Session 1)    THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   

Refer to the description in Session 1 

9)    Pine Needle Baskets

Roxanna Robbins, Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher, SD #23

Roxanna is a member of the Okanagan Nation from the Head of the Lake.  She comes from a traditional family that continues to practice cultural teachings.  This 1 hour and 15 minute workshop will introduce participants to art of making pine needle baskets.  Those who participate will receive materials and be shown the steps to creating their own mini baskets.  

10)      Storytelling (this is a repeat of Session 1)

Refer to the description in Session 1  

 Session Three 2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m

1)      Aboriginal Dance Play (this is a repeat of previous sessions)

Refer to the description in Session 1 

2 & 3)   Blanket Exercise

Lana Lamb, Lisa Stephens, Sandra Hussey and Fiona Anthony,  Aboriginal Support Workers, SD #67

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we're rarely taught.  Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a one and a half hour participatory workshop. (Taken from ).  Take this experience back to your district to create a deeper understanding of the true history of the students you work with every day.

4)     Embracing Syilx Wellness  (this is a repeat of Session 2)

Refer to the description in Session 2


Refer to the description in Session 2 

6)     Healing Workshop (this is a repeat of previous sessions)

Refer to the description in Session 1 

7)     Language Workshop (this is a repeat of Session 1)

Refer to the description in Session 1 

8)    Laughter Yoga (this is a repeat of Session 2)

Refer to the description in Session 2

9)         THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   Pine Needle Baskets (this is a repeat of Session 2)   THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   

Refer to the description in Session 2 

10)     THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   Rest, Yoga and Meditation   THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL   

Mishel Quaal, iRest trained Yoga Alliance Certified Instructor;  Acting VP, Aboriginal Education , SD #83

iRest Yoga Nidra is based on ancient yogic teachings, but made accessible for modern day life. It is designed to bring the healing benefits of yogic and meditative practices to a wide variety of people. iRest can be practiced by anyone, regardless of whether you are a lifelong meditator or if you have never tried meditation before.

This meditation practice can be done lying down or sitting up.  Please bring a yoga mat, comfortable clothing, pillow/bolster, and blanket.

11)     Trauma Informed Practice (this is a repeat of Session 1)

Refer to the description in Session 1