The Cowichan Valley School District is thrilled to offer the video series ‘Hello Dolly’ with Dolly Sylvester, District Elder and Knowledge Keeper. (Submitted)

Cowichan School District’s ‘Hello Dolly’ offers space for cultural questions

SD79 presents bi-weekly video series with Cowichan Elder

There’s Hello, Dolly! the musical and Hello, Dolly! the film and now, it’s ‘Hello Dolly’ the bi-weekly video series with Cowichan Elder Dolly Sylvester (Hwul’hwulenuhwtnaat’), courtesy of School District 79.

Officials at SD79 introduced the new series, in which Sylvester creates a safe space for questions about Elders and Cowichan culture to be asked and answered, in mid November.

The first video featured Sylvester answering the question, “what makes an Elder?” In her warm and welcoming fashion, Sylvester walked viewers through how Elders are identified in Cowichan culture. More questions will be answered as they are submitted.

“Dolly has been a vital part of our district, and the community at large for years, and is a highly respected Elder, educator, mentor, and friend to many, and we are grateful to her for sharing her knowledge in this way,” said Robyn Gray, superintendent of the Cowichan Valley School District.

Sylvester has the distinction of being one of B.C.’s first full-time District Elder and Knowledge Keepers, a role of honour that plays an important part in shaping the district’s relationships with nations throughout the valley, as well as being a conduit for Elders throughout the community. Her position in the Cowichan School District continues to bring indigenous perspectives and knowledge to the school community and beyond.

“Dolly has made such an impact in our district since she was formally recognized as our District Elder and Knowledge Keeper,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “It is wonderful to learn so much from her and we are grateful for all she teaches us.”

Sylvester’s ‘Hello Dolly’ video series joins SD79’s ‘Hul’q’umi’num Word of the Week’ program administered by cultural teaching assistant Claudia Sylvester, a Cowichan Tribes member with a Masters of Linguistics in Hul’q’umi’num from Simon Fraser University, as two of the latest First Nations-centered education video series offered by SD79 to students and the community.

See the first episode of ‘Hello Dolly’ here: https://youtu.be/3bs7iRp3uOM

Send your questions to hellodolly@sd79.bc.ca and to watch her answers, as well as the ‘Hul’q’umi’num Word of the Week’ videos, visit the Cowichan Valley School District’s YouTube channel or any of the @CowichanSchools social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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