On Tuesday, November 13, Mr. Brett and Ms. Keating had Ms. Terri Galligos, an aboriginal resource liaison at Riverside, come into a Foods 10 class to present the students with an opportunity to share stories about food from their own cultures, and to talk about comfort foods in a talking circle. This presented the students with an opportunity to be open about their experiences with food in a safe space.

Galligos ran the talking circle on Tuesday. “We talked about foods, the benefits of foods, traditional foods, foods from our cultures. We started of with my honouring and acknowledging that we are on Coast Salish territory, because the Coast Salish people were here long before 150 years ago, bearing in mind that we have beautiful BC multicultural, diversity in foods and origin. So, we can reciprocate and have students acknowledge who they are and where they come from, so there is a two-way process. We talked about foods that are from our cultures and traditions. Salmon is a very sustainable food source for us people, I remember because my mom didn’t teach me how to filet fish, cook salmon, or how to properly dispose of the salmon, because all parts of the fish were used. From the fish head as a ceremonial high ranking, fish head soup for the elders, a very delicious broth, the nose and the eyes are very nutritious, it’s a good delicacy, but in today’s society people think fish head soup is not good,” said Galligos.

Brett, the teacher in charge of the Foods 10 class, thought the talking circle was good for bringing connection to the students. “It allowed for more connection, a big thing with first nations principles of learning is that its an oral tradition that centers around connection and building those through language. Having her in the class adds a lot of credence to the activity, as she is aboriginal, and its awesome that we have such a great resource such as her. Having her bring so much more authenticity just brings so much more credence to the activity,” said Brett.

Galligos had the idea to do the talking circle after Mme. Miriam Cyr invited her to her classroom, as they have had some discussion on how to support Indigenous culture in the curriculum for students. The idea was that the talking circle could be an assessment piece of what the students know, or just a learning opportunity for students.

Immersing Riverside students more in indigenous culture is an important part of our school, and important to more fully understand Canada’s history. Galligos found a great way of including aboriginal studies, by including students in the circle too and allowing them to talk about their own cultures and their own experiences with the class.