The Delta School District is set to build on its Giving Tree Project thanks to a pair of recent grants totalling $11,000.
As part of the project, the district planted eight- to 10-foot cedar trees at each school and district site by Earth Day 2021 (April 22) as a way to build understanding and show appreciation and respect for local First Nation culture.
According to a district press release, the cedar is known as the “tree of life” or “giving tree” as it gives every part of itself — the roots, the bark and the boughs — to help humans survive. Cedar is traditionally used for making clothing, paddles and tools, carving canoes, building long houses and in providing medicine.
Now, thanks to a $7,000 grant from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in June and a $4,000 grant from the Delta Foundation in May, the district plans to enhance that work with the purchase and installation of three-foot poles featuring a QR code that let visitors to district sites access an educational video that explains the significance of the cedar trees and the Giving Tree Project.
The poles will also showcase the design of the Reconciliation Post commissioned by the district and created by local Tsawwassen First Nation carver Karl Morgan in 2019. The post can be seen in the lobby of the Delta School District office, located at 4585 Harvest Drive in Ladner.
“All of our schools have hosted a celebration of their tree and students have spent time learning about why the cedar tree is the heart of the culture for many First Nations along the coast of British Columbia. What is so special about the Giving Tree Project is that it is far reaching and will provide a lasting legacy,” Diane Jubinville, district vice-principal of Indigenous education, said in a press release.
“The cedar trees and educational posts will stand for generations to come and serve as visual reminders of the important pathway to reconciliation.”
Jubinville said the district hopes to hold a ceremony to unveil the new post by the five trees planted outside its Ladner offices in the fall if provincial health orders allow.
“This will be another opportunity to celebrate the success of the Giving Tree Project implemented this year and continue to demonstrate the district’s commitment to reconciliation.”