“I used to be ashamed of my culture. Now I’m proud,” wrote Golden Secondary School students Ryanna Head and Jo-Mary Crowchild-Fletcher.
The words came from a poem the students wrote for Denise Porter, an aboriginal education support worker here in Golden.
The poem was part of a project called Connecting with the Elders. Students from the Columbia Valley got together with community elders to hear their stories. The students then turned those stories into poems, and created a book.
“It gives them an understanding of a past they may not have been aware of, as well as a sense of pride, accomplishment, and self awareness,” said Wendy Morton, a B.C. writer who started the Connecting with Elders project, and has brought it to communities all over the province. She is currently working on her 10th Connecting with Elders book.
“It is always a very proud moment for me when the elders speak, and the students actually listen.”
The GSS students who participated in the project came together for a reception and reading at the school library on Oct. 8. They read their poems to the elders directly in front of an audience.
Everyone went home with a published copy of the book.