Kelset Elementary students launch canoe made with Pauquachin First Nation


WATCH: After nearly two years, students at Kelset Elementary were finally able to see their hard work in action when the canoe they all helped build from start to finish hit the water from the shores of Pauquachin beach for the very first time. Luisa Alvarez was there.

It was a gorgeous morning Wednesday at Pauquachin First Nation where a cedar canoe was being unveiled.

The students from Kelset Elementary School each played a role in making it and saw the entire transformation from when it was just a standing cedar tree until now.

“All 400 plus students were hands-on, making the canoe, said Master Canoe Maker Curtis Henry. “They helped take the branches off the bark off and they helped take the top and bottom off and they helped knick away so they all had a lot to do with it.”

It took about two years to complete and students were visibly excited on Wednesday morning to finish the project.

“Its kind of crazy that that was a tree before and that it’s now that canoe,” said Kelset student Claire Maddison.

The students finally were able to carry and launch the canoe, all of them getting to watch it glide on the water for the very first time.

“It rides nice. I saw that it rides very good,” said Henry.

The project was a partnership between Pauquachin First Nation and the Saanich School District to strengthen relationships with the Pauquachin community.

“I believe our strength lies in numbers and the more that we work collectively together we go hand in hand and it creates a stronger foundation for our youth because they are our future leaders,” said Pauquachin Chief Rebecca David.

“It’s not just digging and making a canoe there is a lot of teachings behind it the good feelings and not working on it when you’re sad there’s a lot of teachings I had to share with them,” said Henry.

The canoe will be hung on display at Kelset Elementary and it will be relaunched each year as a reminder to the students of the process and its transformation.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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