Recent Pemberton Museum News

July18Tea&Tales: Mt.Currie schools

Tea & Tales July 18th: Mount Currie Schools

This weeks tea and tales was presented by Mámaya7 (Lois Joseph) and Tsínay̓a7 (Georgina Nelson), who told the story of how Mt.Currie schools were established to ensure Lil’wat children are immersed in their own language and culture.

         Since the 1960’s Georgina Nelson lobbied for funding for Lil’wat Nation to take over their own school and education system and has served on the Mt.Currie board of education for the past 35 years.  Her belief is “without our language and culture we would no longer be Lil’wat”.  She is a fluent speaker of the Lil’wat language and became one of the founders of the Ts̓zil Community School, now called the Xet̓ólacw Community School.  She has also been involved with the First Nations Education Steering Committee – language sub-committee and has spent her life advocating for the inclusion of Lil’wat language and culture in all schools.  She has spent her life supporting Lil’wat children and encouraging them to be proud of their heritage.  She has travelled the world to share her story, including the UN to share how Lil’wat Nation is revitalizing the Ucwalmícwts language.

          Mámaya7 Lois Joseph started teaching right out of high school and received her education B.A. in 1986 after taking courses in the evening and during summer holidays.  She has taught grades 4-7, high-school and adult education throughout her 30 years of teaching in schools.  She also teaches Lil’wat language and traditional arts.  In 1993 Lois developed a new dance group which is the Íswalh (loon) Dance Group.  Over the years she trained many young children, youth and adults the dances and traditions specific to Lil’wat Nation.  Lois is the manager for the Lil̓wat7úl Culture Center fully since 2005 and she has been sitting as a Mount Currie Band Councilor for the last 24 years and also sits as a Board of Director for the Squamish Líl̓wat Cultural Center in Whistler.

Thank you to Lois Joseph and Georgina Nelson for presenting. Georgina Nelson would like to thank the team that made Mt. Currie School possible since the 1980s: John and Mary Williams, Jane Rose Gabriel, Joe and Rosie Joseph, Bridget Pascal, Rose Andrew, Edith Narcisse, Albert Nelson, Mt. Currie Band Council, Belinda Frank, and Margarita James