La̱ltła̱n Dala’og̱wa, Keisha Everson, representing the Kumugwe Cultural Society, welcomed Grade 4 teachers, Principals, and Indigenous Education Staff on November 21st to the Kumugwe Big House to prepare for their annual visit to the Big House in Spring 2024.
The Kumugwe Cultural Society have hosted students, traditionally Grade 4’s, in the Big House for 20 plus years, to share the history of the Kumugwe Big house and the significance of the potlatch. Participating in the Big House Experience has been an active and engaging event as students are expected to know why they are coming, be active listeners and remember what they have learned to share that with others – all part of oral tradition that has and continues to exist on this territory since time immemorial.
This is the first year that Keisha Everson or someone from the Kumugwe Cultural Society has talked directly to teachers before the traditional spring event and it was an exciting, cozy, and transformational experience in the Big House, warmed by Clyde Dawson, a firekeeper who shared his gifts with keeping our bodies, minds, and heart warm and ready for this learning. Thank you to for the presence of Karver Everson, brother to Keisha, and Iris and Orion, Keisha’s two lovely children who all remind us of the importance of family and community in our work as educators.
The work to keep ways of being and knowing alive is not done in isolation. We also heard lovely, strong, and supportive words from community members, Ni’noxsola, Evelyn Voyageur and Indigenous Education Council Member, Trish McPhail who both encouraged us to be part of systemic and transformational change.
Grade 4 students and teachers will come to visit the Big House ready and more prepared than ever.
Carrying the name La̱ltła̱n Dala’og̱wa from her great-grandmother, Keisha Everson is from the Gigalga̱m ‘Walas Kwaguł of the Kwakwaka̱’wakw and a member of the K’omoks First Nation with ancestral ties to the Tlingit and Europe, particularly the Netherlands.
She has a Masters’ of Education in Indigenous Language Revitalization from the University of Victoria where she deepened her passion for learning and teaching Kwak̕wala, the first language of her grandmother. Keisha worked in School District 72 as a District Indigenous Language and Culture Teacher for 6 years before taking a break from the classroom to be home with her two children. She enjoys sharing Indigenous teachings, perspectives, and history with educators through meaningful conversation.