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SD61 hosts Indigenous film fest for staff during PD day

This is the second year of the event, which aims to increase understanding
The Greater Victoria School District is hosting an Indigenous film festival for staff for the second year in a row. (Black Press Media file photo)

Staff in the Greater Victoria School District will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of Indigenous perspectives with a dedicated day of learning.

An Indigenous film festival, hosted during the district’s May 19 professional development day, aims to help staff increase their understanding of Indigenous perspectives and how to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action.

As well as the films, there’ll be 20 events at 11 locations, including talks from authors and storytellers, and land-based learning.

This is the second year SD61 has run the event, which was met with positive feedback from staff last year, according to Shelly Niemi, director of Indigenous education with the district.

“Over 1,250 employees have registered for the festival, which speaks to the ongoing commitment in our district to recognize the importance and value of Indigenous knowledge and how it must be woven into the fabric of the public education system. We are co-presenting some of this year’s events with (the) community and we are sharing resources that will provide a wonderful range of experiences. We will also include senior Indigenous students who will act as ushers and supports at various venues.”

The festival’s feature film presentation will be The Mind of a Child, followed by a guest presentation by Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams, an Indigenous education emerita professor at the University of Victoria, and the film’s director Gary Marcuse.

Other guests include Metis fiddler Tristen Durocher, Haida storyteller Kung Jaadee, educator Carolyn Roberts, artist Tejas Collison, and authors Samantha Beynon and Peggy Janicki.

SD61 superintendent Deb Whitten touted the program as a creative way to deepen staff’s understanding.

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