Syeyutsus is a hul’q’umi’num expression for “walking together,” living and honoring the teachings of the land and First Peoples, while navigating the complexities of today’s changing world. To honor the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, the Board of Education created the Syeyutsus Policy Framework. This policy framework ensures that NLPS work with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, while moving forward with reconciliation initiatives. The committee refers to themselves as the Syeyutsus Family. This family has representation from Mid-Island Metis Nation, Tillicum Lelum Friendship Centre, Snuneymuxw First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Snaw-Naw-As First Nation, NLPS Trustees, Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, NDTA President & Executives, CUPE Executive, DPAC Executive, Director of Indigenous Education, and Syeyutsus Saays’um (one that does the work to support walking together).
Syeyutsus Policy Framework was regularly introduced and celebrated throughout the district. Staff had the opportunity to learn traditional Indigenous values, as well as teachings that recognize the respectful relationships between the land, species, language, and culture. One of the biggest Syeyutsus events occurred at a Meet & Eat session in January. As per Indigenous protocol, the event began with a greeting and gratitude opening, a drum song, and introduction to the Syeyutsus Family. The evening included storytelling, a feast, and breakout sessions. All participants were gifted a traditional story to share with their students.
Syeyutsus family members traveled to various schools to invite students and staff to listen to Elders share stories, learn to drum and sing, and to share a feast. They called these gatherings Singing With Syeyutsus. When social/physical isolation and learning from home occurred, Syeyutsus family shared their Covid-19 Continuity of Learning resource to support student, staff, and families’ health and wellness. They continued their Singing with Syeyutsus on ZOOM. Despite all changes and challenges, the Syeyutsus Framework Policy continues to support NLPS.