Indigenous Skills is a celebration of the traditional skills, knowledge, culture and history of First Nation people from across British Columbia.
In a series of workshops produced by First Nations artists from across BC, Indigenous Skills focuses on the sharing of traditional skills from Elders and local experts to First Nations youth and their educators. Infused within the process is the crossover relevance to careers in the contemporary skilled trades.
We acknowledge and honour British Columbia’s indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers as we continue to foster and develop our work.
The Indigenous Skills initiative is intended to be used a source for educators in Indigenous communities and classrooms to introduce traditional knowledge to their students.
The projects contained in this website provide an introduction to a variety of authentic projects that require basic skilled trades training. This training will allow learners to achieve amazing results – merging contemporary skills training with traditional methods and information for each project. The cultural connection and information provided allows learners to not only gather knowledge on what materials are being used, but also why they are being used and how they would have been used traditionally.
The project plans and descriptions can be used as catalysts to encourage learners to launch an investigation into their own culture—for example, the history behind a project such as the Canoe Bowl, can be used to initiate thought and conversation around how it relates to the community utilizing this resource. Our hope is that these projects will encourage learners to ask critical questions, and foster discussions and thoughts about their own culture, art, and traditions.
This website features a number of Indigenous artists who each bring diverse experience and expert knowledge to the contents. Each of our featured artists have an incredible amount of knowledge about their specialized art form. From Peter Wayne Gong’s experience as a renowned expert in bentwood box making to Danika Naccarella’s rich connection to the traditions in her community – these Indigenous artists weave tradition into all areas of their craftsmanship – with results that inspire so many to maintain and revitalize the rich history within their own communities.
Every project within these pages tells a story and is presented in a way that authentically represents our culture. We hope you will enjoy learning the skills featured here and that you will add your own community’s experiences and knowledge to tell your own stories.
Dean Heron | Kaska/Tlingit Artist | Indigenous Communities Catalyst, Construction Foundation of BC