Home Outdoor education Salmon Arm resident explains how to connect kids to nature – Sicamous Eagle Valley News

Salmon Arm resident explains how to connect kids to nature – Sicamous Eagle Valley News


“We see what we have been taught to see. We love and respect our natural environment when we see ourselves as part of that community.

These phrases are among the words on the cover of Heartbeat of the Earth, A Handbook on Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings.

The manual is written by Launa Purcell, a member of the Mount Currie area Xa’xtsa First Nation who lives in Salmon Arm. She understands on a deep level the importance of outdoor learning.

“As a Xa’xtsa Indigenous woman, I understand that the teaching of our ancestors and being outdoors are as inseparable as our connection to the land… We see ourselves as part of nature and not as a separate entity. Children learn from an early age that what we do to nature, we do to ourselves…”, she writes in the introduction.

She spent many hours with her grandmother Alice Purcell, who died six years ago in the late 90s.

“We spent a lot of time outdoors, whether it was picking berries, being outdoors with family or being outdoors in nature. Growing up immersed in nature has certainly given me a great appreciation for being externally aware of the things around us.

Purcell has worked in Indigenous education in the North Okanagan-Shuswap 83 School District for over 20 years, where outdoor learning was a key component. She now does similar work with the Rise Up Indigenous Wellness Society, with strong ties to Salmon Arm and Sicamous.

The beautiful nature and children’s photographs in the book were taken by Wes Snukwa7 (also known as Wilson), a member of the Lytton First Nation who lives in Salmon.

Heartbeat of the Earth, A Handbook on Connecting Children to Nature through Indigenous Teachings, written by Launa Purcell with photographs by Wes Snukwa7, is for parents, caregivers and educators. (Martha Wickett’s Salmon Arm Observer)

With its short and well-spaced texts, accompanied by photos and drawings, the manual is accessible and inviting.

Content includes: power of ceremony; Mindfulness – Gratitude Meditation; We are all connected; swimmers, walkers and pilots; and indigenous games.

Asked about the generosity of sharing indigenous knowledge with the general population, Purcell said her hope was to increase understanding.

“When you understand another culture, you are able to connect more strongly, she said, explaining that much of what she has been able to share are traditional teachings, some orally of her own. band and others shared by other First Nations.

The manual is aimed at parents, carers and educators, although Purcell said his mother has heard from many interested grandparents. Purcell said the manual was the kind of resource she always seeks as a teacher of Indigenous children.

A well-attended book signing took place on September 22 at the Anvil Coffee Collective in Salmon Arm. Purcell and Snukwa7 were there, along with family, friends and supporters.

Snukwa7’s love of photography dates back to his teenage years when he attended an independent school run by Lytton First Nation. The elders would come and teach the students the traditional customs and language. There he took a photography course and the seed was sown.

“I believe in this book 100% and it has a lot to do with the school I went to in Lytton…” he said.

He and his wife Kristine Wilson also do family portraits, events, weddings and more, which he loves.

Her friendship with Kristine and Purcell goes back a long way, as she taught their three children as well as her sister.

“I love the path she is on right now. To collaborate with another First Nations person and do a project like this – it’s just amazing… I’m just proud to be part of the project and to receive the recognition I made.

He was especially honored to have Lytton First Nation Chief Janet Webster attend the book signing, along with her father Joe Wilson.

“He was so proud.”

Purcell said she hopes to work with Snukwa7 on another project that is still in the works. Her family also attended the book signing and loved seeing the children whose photographs are in the book.

“One of the little girls was signing people‘s books, telling them, ‘I’m in the book, I’m famous,'” she smiles.

Heartbeat of the Earth is available in Salmon Arm at Bookingham Palace as well as Book Nook.

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