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September 14, 2011

International students experience Aboriginal culture during Shuswap study tour

by Arnica Rowan

A group of international students visiting the Salmon Arm campus from Kansai Gaidai in Japan had the opportunity to participate in a dynamic Aboriginal cultural experience during a trip to the Splatsin Band.

Hosted by John and Darrell Jones, and with support from Aboriginal recruiter Caroline Chartier and ESL instructor Tracy Riley, the Japanese students visited a historical site along the Shuswap river that had two newly built kekulis – constructed according to local traditions by First Nation youths and their leaders.

The Japanese students not only learned about traditional homes, but also about the locals crafts and baskets that were used in everyday life. They also joined community members from the Splatsin Band in a delicious traditional meal that included deer and moose soup, pit cooked salmon filled with berries and herbs, and corn and potatoes.

During dessert John shared a generations-old story about the 
medicine wheel and all the peoples of the earth. After the meal
the Japanese students played an exciting  and fast-paced stick game with the highly competitive, but incredibly funny John and Darrell.

The cooperation between the Splatsin Band and Okanagan College staff created a meaningful cultural and educational experience for the visiting students.

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