By David F. Rooney Aboriginal students gathered at Centennial Park on Monday, June 1, for the presentation to School District 19 of the sturgeon-nosed canoe it commissioned from Wayne Louie, a master canoe maker from the Ktunaxa nation. It was an exciting moment for the students, some of whom helped Louie and his assistant iris Caye create the canoe’s all-wood framework when the project began early last month. Here are photos from the presentation ceremony as well as never-before-seen images of RSS students helping Wayne build the framework: Aboriginal students of all ages flock to examine the sturgeon-nosed canoe built by Ktnaxa master canoe builder Wayne Louie (right) during a ceremony at Centennial park on Monday, June 1. Louie built the craft using all-natural materials gathered in this area. The eight-foot canoe will be displayed at RSS, some of whose students helped him and his assistant, Iris Caye, in the initial stages of construction. David F. Rooney photo Begbie View teacher Colleen Wall directs students crowding around the sturgeon-nosed canoe, so-called because its prow and stern resemble the snout of the Columbia River’s might white sturgeon. David F. Rooney photo During the more formal part of the presentation ceremony Wayne lit a jumper smudge to bless the canoe. The Ktunaxa and other Interior native peoples use the fragrant-smelling smoke of burning juniper to purify themselves and certain objects during traditional rituals. Plains natives such as the Blackfeet and Cree use sweetgrass for the same purpose. David F. Rooney photo The children were very curious about the ritual and asked Wayne why he did it. “It’s sort of like being baptized,” he said. David F. Rooney photo With an eagle feather in one hand and the burning juniper in the other Wayne wafted smoke over the paddles and the canoe. David F. Rooney photo At the end of the ceremony Wayne presented the canoe and two paddles to Ariel McDowell, principal of Columbia Park Elementary and of the School District 19 Aboriginal Education Advisory Committee, and young Maya Howe. David F. Rooney photo Aboriginal students at RSS learned something about their traditional culture when they helped Wayne Louie with the initial stages of making the canoe. Photo courtesy of Lisa Moore SD 19 Aboriginal Education Support Worker No metals or plastics were used in the construction of the canoe. Photo courtesy of Lisa Moore SD 19 Aboriginal Education Support Worker With their help Wayne and his assistant, Iris Caye, completed the framework for the sturgeon-nosed canoe using local woods and cedar roots and bitter cherry bark. Photo courtesy of Lisa Moore SD 19 Aboriginal Education Support Worker Wayne talks to the kid about this rarely seen kind of watercraft. Photo courtesy of Lisa Moore SD 19 Aboriginal Education Support Worker Please click here if you’d like to see an earlier set of photos of Wayne and iris working on the canoe at the Farmers’ Market as well as a video about Wayne and his canoes.