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PHOTOS: Student-made carving unveiled at North Delta high school

Burnsview students made the work depicting a sea otter holding an urchin under the guidance of Indigenous artist Curtis Miller Joe

Students at North Delta’s Burnsview Secondary hosted a small gathering on Thursday, June 6 to unveil a new carving made under the guidance of local Indigenous artist Curtis Miller Joe.

Joe, who is a child and youth care worker at the school, has been working with Myles Hulme’s First Peoples social studies class, sharing Indigenous language and culture while helping the students explore their particular areas of interest.

“These guys had a choice of what they wanted to do, and they wanted to do food and they wanted to do art,” Joe told event attendees.

He credited the students — Sumeet Singh, Inayah Ismail, Meeka Khaira, Janne Hockley, Richie Jacobsen, Sofia Macgregor, Maisha Lindahl, Georgia Sheridan, Catalina Magnusson and Lucas Bircher — for putting in the work and learning the skills needed for themselves.

“I just want to recognize these kids,” he said. “Learning how to carve and learning how to do these things, it’s not easy. But they did it.”

The carving took the students three days to complete, and depicts a sea otter floating with an urchin on its belly.

“First of all they chose an otter and an octopus, and that was the thing they wanted to do, at the same time. They wanted the octopus to come from under the ocean and grab the otter. I didn’t know how ‘traditional’ that was, so I nixed it,” Joe said with a laugh.

At the unveiling, guests were treated to powwow dancing by Joe and his daughter, Cynthia Shingoose, followed by a reception where the students served traditional foods like bannock, game meat stew and hand pies, smoked salmon and gooseberry-peach pie — all made using meat hunted and berries picked by Joe himself.

The event was made possible with financial support from The United Way.

James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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