Tsawout / Pender Youth Leadership Project


About the Tsawout / Pender Youth Leadership Project

In September of 2017, the Pender Island School and the Tsawout First Nation Learning House agreed to jointly participate in a Youth Leadership Project with a reconciliation theme. Pender’s School Trustee Anna Herlitz said:
“School District 64 supports Justice Murray Sinclair’s vision expressed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report that ‘education is the key to reconciliation. As Pender School Trustee, I am delighted that Pender School students will have this rich opportunity to engage in deep cultural learning and understanding together with Tsawout students from Saanich.

Six youth from each school program along with co-teachers from each school and an Elder/ mentor from each community met for 7 Thursdays between September 28 and November 9 to prepare a reconciliation event to be presented to their respective school communities in November. Romaine Underwood (CHULETSA) agreed to serve as the Tsawout teacher and Emily Raichura (TLALIKLILOW GWA) served as the Pender teacher. Tsawout Elder Willard Pelkey (ELOWENET)M and Pender mentor Ben McConchie provided support for the program. The program included a traditional salmon pit cook at the Pender School on October 12 led by Elder Earl Claxton Jr and John-Bradley Williams.

Tsawout Learning House coordinator Stephanie Adams pointed out: “By sharing experience and perspectives, the youth from these two communities will gain important cultural insights to share with their respective school communities. ”

The Project was supported by a grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Youth Leadership Project was part of the 2017 Pender Reconciliation Initiative developed by the South Pender Historical Society in consultation with the Tsawout leadership team and in cooperation with the Pender Reconciliation Circle and the Pender Anglican Parish.

Tsawout Chief Harvey Underwood observed:“This initiative is an important step forward in its recognition at the community to community level to promote accurate cultural education, honour past cultural practices and build future relationships".