The focus for May is Respect.

Respect – Mnaadendimowin:

Respect is represented by the buffalo. The buffalo gives every part of his being to sustain the human way living, not because he is of less value, but because he respects the balance and needs of others.

For as long as we have been here, we have sustained our lives through the Buffalo in terms of clothing, food, shelter, and expressing ourselves in art.

To honor all creation is to have respect.

Live honorably in teachings and in your actions towards all things. Do not waste and be mindful of the balance of all living things. Share and give away what you do not need. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Do not be hurtful to yourself or others.

Place others before yourself in your life, don’t look down on anyone.

Respect your fellow living beings.

All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected.

Our goal is that teachers will learn together with their students about these teachings and bring them into their regular classroom activities.

With a focus of respect, students could:

  • Write, draw, talk about respect for others and for yourself – what do people in your life show respect?  Brainstorm “What does respect look/sound/feel like?” and discuss why respect is important.
  • Have students decorate a Buffalo and write about what represents Respect for them. On the next page, see the Buffalo art by Michelle Stoney, a Gitxsan artist who has graciously given permission for anyone to print off and colour this design – she just asks that it not be used for sale or profit.
  • Share some picture books about respect such as  You Hold Me Up  I Am Like a Tree: Bark and Knots or books from this list.
  • Engage in self-reflection and self-assessment techniques, being honest and kind with where they are in their learning journeys. Have students reflect on their ability to show respect, be kind to others and to themselves.
  • Explore the First Peoples Principle of Learning: “Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and-or in certain situations.” This principle highlights the importance of respecting the sacred.
  • Explore the 13 Moons of the WSANEC
  • Explore PENAWEN the Moon of the Camas Harvest. Use this slideshow to highlight all the traditional activities that take place during PENAWEN.
  • Explore the importance of Camas and Garry Oak Ecosystems. The following lesson plan is designed for secondary but could easily be adapted for all grade levels:
  • May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “Missing Nimama” by Melanie Florence is an excellent resource for all grade levels and explains the concept of MMIW in a gentle way.
  • Bear Witness Day – May 10th – Spirit Bear’s birthday and an important date in the history of Jordan’s Principle at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.  Click here for more information and ideas for activities for your class.
  • Celebrated in May and June, Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams invites people of all ages to plant heart gardens in memory of children lost to the residential school system, to honour residential school survivors and their families, and support the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  
  • May is the season of Cedar Harvesting. Learn about the importance of Cedar from Elder Henry Chipps and Brother Rick Peter in this video from Royal Roads: Consider inviting Elder Henry or Brother Rick into your classroom to engage your students in a Cedar Weaving lesson.

June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. If you were considering using this opportunity to engage with Indigenous Elders or Role Models, remember that the deadline for district funding is during May.  School funds will need to be used for June if you want to invite an Elder or Role Model into your classroom to teach about local Indigenous culture. Please check with the Indigenous Education Teacher(s) or Indigenous Classroom Assistant(s) at your school if you would like some support or advice with making the bookings.


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