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Indigenous dedication of building and land held for VITA Elementary School

The Columbian
Published: September 30, 2023, 5:28am

HUDSONS BAY — Vancouver Innovation, Technology, and Arts Elementary School (VITA, for short) is now open to students and an Indigenous dedication of the building and land was held Sept. 20. The dedication honored the Indigenous people of the land on which the school is built and was led by Sam Robinson of the Chinook Nation.

Robinson taught a Chinook song, did some drumming and spoke about the history of the land. VITA students will be learning about related topics so the event’s themes and history will be part of the lesson plan in the classroom. Students and attendees also learned more about the Confluence Project, an ongoing educational effort celebrating the coming together of multiple cultures along the Columbia River.

Arts block teachers Erik Smith and Wendy Thompson will be leading an integrated arts project that explores how Indigenous artists represent culture and community in the arts. The students will then create their own community art to be presented on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October along with guests from the Traveling Day Society Drumming Group.

From the city of Vancouver, Mayor Ann McEnerny-Ogle and Mayor Pro Tem Ty Stober were in attendance, along with Stacey Donovan, cultural services manager, Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Snell, and other VPS administrators and teachers. The event also featured VITA students.