Salmon Arm – Okanagan College (OC) students preparing for careers as education assistants are benefiting from teaching that goes beyond what you learn from textbooks and in classrooms.
Earlier this spring, a seminar led by Dodie Jones, a member of the Splatsin te Secwépemc, introduced students in the Certified Education Assistant Program in Salmon Arm to the medicine wheel, its significance and meaning.
The workshop, titled Medicine Wheel and Traditional Teaching – Grounded in Culture, incorporated traditional teachings of the Secwépemc people and the teachings of the medicine wheel, which originates from the Prairies.
“It was an honour to be able to come to Salmon Arm campus and share the Medicine Wheel Workshop with the students,” said Dodie. “I am absolutely thrilled with the strong connection I was able to make and the impact it will have for these students as they go on to work with other children as their careers begin. The medicine wheel has been such an important part of my own healing and to share that knowledge of healing with others who will be working in schools here in our community is incredibly powerful.”
Dodie began each day of the two-day workshop with a telling of her history, her connection to the new Secwépemcúl’ecw (Secwépemc land), and why the medicine wheel has so much importance in her life and her own healing.
“The strength that Dodie imparted to these students was absolutely amazing,” said Mandie Belle, program coordinator with the CEA program at OC. “It was truly an honor to have Dodie share her knowledge and strength with all of us. Understanding the medicine wheel can help us integrate more indigenous knowledge into our lives and into curriculum.”
As part of the workshop, Dodie prepared a hand-sewn offering pouch for each student in the workshop, and guided students to add what was special to them in the pouch to remember their personal gifts and strengths. She also provided tea, cedar, sage, a special piece of the earth and all the colors of the medicine wheel.
“Dodie affirmed each individual student in their decision to pursue careers as education assistants and helped them see what they have to offer children in the classroom. It was a powerful and enriching experience for everyone that they’ll remember for years,” said Mandie.
The in-person seminar is part of Okanagan College’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation and working in partnership with Indigenous communities in the region.
The Certified Education Assistant Program is available in Salmon Arm as well as the Vernon, Kelowna, Revelstoke and Penticton Campuses and is additionally offered through distance education.