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Grade 10s Explore the Value of Storytelling

IB Middle Years Programme
Students at Malahat Skywalk
In Grade 10, the Language & Literature course focuses on studying literature pieces written by Indigenous authors. In class, students have been reading and analyzing the book, Indian Horse written by Richard Wagamese, a Canadian Indigenous author who has published multiple books such as One Native Life and Medicine Walk. Students have also analyzed short stories written by Drew Hayden Taylor and Thomas King, including “Borders,” “Stars,” “I am…am I?” and “Totem.”

To further “explore the value of storytelling,” Grade 10 Language & Literature teachers, Mr. John Smith and Mr. Michael Irving, organized a field trip to the Malahat Skywalk, where students had the opportunity to listen to an Indigenous storyteller share her experiences.

The speaker, Anna McKenzie, is a journalist who writes for IndigiNews, specifically on Indigenous child welfare issues. She talked about her role as a storyteller and how storytelling in Indigenous communities has helped with the restoration of culture, language and traditions. Her topics included the impact of birth alerts in BC and the importance of knowing your heritage, as it is part of who you are.

Many of the Grade 10 students found the experience of the trip quite meaningful.

“The trip was meaningful,” said Reese Suntok ’26. “Hearing a story from an individual who could empathize and relate to the Residential Schools through her family members was very impactful and educational. I learned that trauma can be passed through generations, like how her father’s trauma was passed down to her.”

Antonia Willer ’26 said, “I really enjoyed the field trip. It was really fun and you had the chance to explore nature and talk and listen to different people. The Indigenous storyteller told us many things. I especially remember when she told us about birth alerts and how Indigenous mothers get separated from their newborn babies.”

“I enjoyed this trip and I learned a lot,” said Zax Zhang `26. “I learned about the history of the treatment of Indigenous people, and how, currently, Indigenous people are trying to reconnect and learn about their own culture and language.”

“I liked being in the fresh air, reading the information posted around the property, looking at the driftwood sculptures, and listening to the Indigenous storyteller,” said Owen Nozick ’26. “One of the things I took away from the storytelling is that circles are all around us in metaphor. I feel that it is very powerful and impactful.”

The trip was both educational and fun. After hearing the positive feedback and the meaningful impact it had on the students, the teachers are already planning to include this trip in next year’s curriculum.