A community Aboriginal facilitator for Revelstoke

Revelstoke will soon have a community Aboriginal facilitator. The Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee of School District 19 applied for, and received, a Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives grant to support the role. The committee is now actively looking for candidates with Aboriginal ancestry who can help built networks of Aboriginal residents, supporters and neighbouring bands and work towards building an Aboriginal Friendship Society.
In the 2011 National Household Survey, 400 residents identified as having Aboriginal ancestry and more than 12% of students in School District 19 identify as having Aboriginal roots.
“This has been the missing piece,” said Ariel McDowell, District Principal of Aboriginal Education in Revelstoke. “There isn’t a community contact for Aboriginal people beyond the school district.”
For Aboriginal youth, this means that once they leave school there is no program to support them and for the many pre-school children, families and elders there is no cultural support.
The lack of an Aboriginal Friendship Society has meant that whenever community groups need advice or participation by Aboriginal residents they approach the Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, even when the activity is beyond the committee’s mandate. Committee members have been called on to open museum events, participate in the Carousel of Nations and were lead organizers of the Aboriginal Storytelling Festival in June last year.
The facilitator could identify grants and opportunities to support Aboriginal residents and initiatives in Revelstoke. This could have economic and social benefits for Revelstoke.
“Because of our history (which discouraged the original inhabitants from remaining in the area) that connection with the past has been severed,” McDowell said. “Aboriginal people have become immigrants to Revelstoke” with Cree and Métis residents forming the largest part of the local Aboriginal population.
The efforts of the facilitator and Friendship Society members could help educate residents and visitors about Revelstoke’s long Aboriginal history while celebrating and sharing Aboriginal cultures from across Canada.
For more information check WorkBC job postings for Revelstoke or go to the Revelstoke Storytelling Festival Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/revelstokestorytellingfestival?ref=hl