As part of its commitment to reconciliation, the Delta School District is planting a cedar tree at every school and district site as a way to show appreciation and respect for local First Nation culture through its Giving Tree Project. The City of Delta has generously donated at least one 8-10’ cedar tree per school and district site, and will also provide the bark mulch and help to prepare the ground and plant the trees at each site.
“The cultural significance of the cedar tree to many First Nation people along coastal and central B.C. is profound and reaches back through time immemorial. We are pleased and honoured to be involved with the School District’s Giving Tree Project,” said Mayor George V. Harvie.
“The role of education in building intercultural understanding, empathy and mutual respect is vital in advancing the journey of reconciliation,” said Board Chair Val Windsor. “To understand the traditional territory we inhabit means to understand the culture of this region. Traditionally, cedar trees were in abundance here and have helped to ensure the survival of people for thousands of years.”
The cedar tree is known as the “Tree of Life” or the “Giving Tree” as it gives every part of itself to humans for survival: the roots, the bark, the boughs. Traditional uses of the cedar range from carving canoes, building the Long or Big House, making clothing, paddles, tools, and providing medicine.
Trees will be planted at all schools and other District sites by Earth Day (April 22). Students will be taught how to make an offering to the tree as a welcome. This can come in the form of soil, bark mulch, water, or even good thoughts towards it. Students will be given the chance to do this during their welcoming celebration, which will take place between Earth Day and Arbour Day (April 30). Educators will take this opportunity to explain the importance of the cedar tree to students. In addition, the School District’s Indigenous Education Department will host Zoom sessions and show videos to share additional information on the history of First Peoples’ stewardship of the earth.
Staff from the City of Delta will leave students with detailed care instructions for looking after the trees.
Watch these educational videos produced by the Indigenous Education Department:
Short video (<1 minute) : https://vimeo.com/540201305
Video for elementary students (< 4 minutes): https://vimeo.com/540198353
Video for secondary students (<12 minutes): https://vimeo.com/540193862