The cedar weave was mounted to the western wall of the Ladysmith Secondary School foyer on Dec. 23, 2020. (Cole Schisler photo)

The cedar weave was mounted to the western wall of the Ladysmith Secondary School foyer on Dec. 23, 2020. (Cole Schisler photo)

LSS nutsamuut syaays project enters new phase with completion of foyer

Plans are underway to build an outdoor classroom space for traditional Coast Salish teaching at LSS

It’s been over a year since John Marston’s nutsamuut syaays welcome figure was installed in the foyer of Ladysmith Secondary School, and on Dec. 23, 2020, Marston and volunteers put the finishing touches on the project.

RELATED: John Marston’s nutsamuut syaays welcome figure unveiled at LSS

LSS students from the Land and Language class, led by Marston, created a 12 foot by 13 foot cedar weave in the foyer. That weave was hung high on a wall in the LSS foyer. The hanging of the weave marks the completion of the nutsamuut syaays display — nutsamuut syaays means “working together as one” in hul’q’umi’num’.

“We had a day where all the kids in the class wove the cedar together,” Marston said. “To put the weave together took a day, but there a was a lot of process to get all the materials ready.”

The cedar used in the weave came from the same 40 foot old growth cedar tree that was used to create the eagle welcome figure, and four big house beams that mark LSS as a house of education. Marston said making the weave with students was plenty of fun, and that he feels honoured to have shared the experience with them.

“The kids are so great. That’s why we keep doing the projects that we’re doing here in Ladysmith — to help bring awareness to our Coast Salish nation, our artwork, our way of life, and our culture.”

RELATED: New Ladysmith Secondary course introduces youth to First Nations culture

Now that work in the foyer has been completed, a new project is on the horizon. The next intiative is to build an outdoor cultural space that serves as a classroom, an elders teaching space, as well as a meeting and artists space at LSS.

“We’ve been really fortunate with the partnerships that we’ve created with this project here,” Marston said. “We’re just in the preliminary planning period, and the classroom will be used for the Land and Language program.”

LSS teacher William Taylor, who teaches theatre and co-teaches the Land and Language program with Mandy Jones, said that the outdoor classroom is exactly what LSS needs to teach students in a traditional way.

RELATED: Ladysmith teacher receives inaugural Premier’s Award for Excellence in Education

“That’s been the dream of my teaching partner, yutustanaat — Mandy Jones,” Taylor said. “She says that when you’re working in the right way, the gifts come. And we’re so rich in these gifts.”

Duck Paterson, who has been involved in the nutsamuut syaays project since the beginning, said that Fortis BC has come forward with a $100,000 commitment for the outdoor classroom space.

The project is estimated to cost over $200,000, but there is no finalized budget for the project at this stage.

“Hopefully it will become a cultural meeting area for the Stz’uminus community and the Ladysmith community to get into more partnerships on community stuff,” Paterson said.

The design of the building will allow it to be used in all weather conditions, and will likely feature movable walls.

“It’s going to be like the welcome figure in here, you won’t find this in any other school any where,” Paterson said.

Martson said that the new project is important for the youth of Ladysmith and Stz’uminus, and will give them a different way of looking at life.

“It opens their eyes to the cultures within our communities, and cultures around the world. I think this is really important work that we’re all doing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rod Alsop and the LSS band had a great day holding class outdoors at Transfer Beach. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith Secondary School band takes class outside to mark the end of academic quarter

The band took advantage of a sunny January day to play outside

Jessica Lowry created a series of videos to engage Ladysmith Intermediate School students in mindfulness. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith Intermediate teams up with local artist to introduce students to mindfulness

Ladysmith artist Jessica Lowry created a series of 36 videos to help students practice mindfulness

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Most Read