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Clarence “Butch” Dick “Deep Humbly” with honorary degree

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Yux’wey’lupton – or Clarence “Butch” Dick – received an honorary doctorate in law from Royal Roads University for his work as an artist and educator.

said Dick, who was one of two leaders to receive honors in Autumn 2021 On November 19.

The Royal Roads Company was also honored Lillian Howard, who “was on the front lines of indigenous advocacy in British Columbia and Canada” for five decades before her death in October. Howard was a member of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation and was of Nuo Shah Nult, Kwakwakawako, and Tlingit descent.

“You will be missed, and yet your actions have planted their lives throughout and strengthened their strong roots throughout the country. Your contributions – in justice, health, the environment and reconciliation – will be remembered and will continue to empower and awaken minds towards indigenous peoples’ rights long into the future,” reads a statement about Howard from the University.

dick from Songi NationHe has spent decades teaching Aboriginal arts in public schools, designing Aboriginal curricula, and working to revitalize Aboriginal languages ​​at the university level. He is also a husband and grandfather.

“Royal Roads owes a lot to Yux’wey’lupton, a true dreamy guide and keeper of knowledge,” reads Statement from the university From 15 november.

“Butch is known for being a builder of bridges, forging strong and lasting bonds between indigenous and non-indigenous people within this community. Through his art, words, and teachings, he is a peaceful innovator of restorative action and inspires others every day.”

Dick spoke with IndigiNews about working with students and the changes he has seen over time in the education system. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Jennasa Joy Clocas: Today you receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Royal Roads – (congratulations!) – in recognition of your work as an artist and educator. Can you talk about what this means to you?

Clarence “Butch” Dick: It was a great honor, and I was deeply humbled by that recognition.

I’ve been involved in education most of my life, and that was it too Not part of a grand plan – just the way things went in my life that I ended up becoming a teacher in a number of different ways.

JJK: Royal Roads identifies you as an educator and keeper of knowledge. I’m curious what these words mean to you.

Convention on Biological Diversity: I’ve been working as a custodian of knowledge for a while. I wouldn’t describe myself as a knowledge keeper, just an elder [who] I learned through experience.

JJK: Is there anything you would like people to understand about your education?

Convention on Biological Diversity:

I think the world has changed in many respects with regard to the education of First Nations peoples. Back in my day, our paths were chosen for us.

I went to boarding school. And also Indian Day School, which probably left me with a lack of ability to apply. Therefore, education has always been difficult for me, a type that has at least helped me advocate for First Nations students.

JJK: Thank you for this post. Can you tell me how you became an artist?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I’ve always been able to draw and create art, which started with drawing, and that has led me to. As much as wanting to know more about art, it wasn’t until then [going to] Vancouver School of Art that I realized I didn’t know enough about First Nations art. First Nations art began another phase of my journey to learn about First Nations art, in particular, the Salish Coast – which I learned at Camuson College.

JJK: I understand that you have spent 25 years teaching Aboriginal art in public schools in the Victorian area. Is this correct?

Convention on Biological Diversity: Yes, in the Greater Victoria School District. At first they called us teachers. Then First Nations art became part of the school curriculum. Then they made us teachers. I have taught in every school in Victoria.

JJK: Are you still studying?

Convention on Biological Diversity: No, I’m retired. Reluctantly, because I love working, you know. I loved being involved in education. But I am still a member of School District 61 Board. Of course, Royal Roads University and the Aboriginal Perspectives Society.

JJK: What have you found most rewarding working in public schools?

Convention on Biological Diversity: Now that I’m retired, you know, the recognition from the students lives up to it. Students often come to me and thank me for being their teacher at one time, either at UVic [University of Victoria], or the school district. I constantly meet people I teach in District 61. Of course, they all grew up with their families, but they still remember me as a teacher.

JJK: Did you teach at UVic too?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I was asked to help with a program called “Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning” by Dr. Lorna Williams…it is a volunteer teacher program [education] graduates. It was an unaccredited program that gave knowledge of how to work with First Nations students.

JJK: Going back to public schools for a moment, what was the most challenging part, working in public schools?

Convention on Biological Diversity: For the teaching of First Nations art, acceptance is always a challenge, not only for teachers, but principals and students. And just realizing what they know about First Nations peoples…other than what’s in the media and everything else. Try to put those aside.

JJK: Have you been able to see changes over time in this school system?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I especially think there is a gradual movement ahead this year. People talk about settlement, colonization, reconciliation and many other things. There are a lot of things that people can address.

JJK: You were telling me a little bit about your experience with UVic, can you tell me about your work with Royal Roads?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I participated in Heron people [Circle]. It is like a council of wise men. We sit down and discuss the things Royal Roads is up to. We talk about our history and education and compare it to today’s education. [Royal Roads] It has a very large number of First Nations graduates from all over Canada. This just shows how far we’ve come.

You look at a number of people who not only work at UVic, but students as well. Things are gradually changing.

The main focus in my mind is working with students who have a lot of difficulty with education, and trying to raise them to a level that suits them. From my live experience with the school system, I see how different things were in my day, compared to now. It is more about opportunity.

JJK: Have you found it particularly difficult working with universities?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I think the challenge for me was to move from teaching in the school district to moving to teaching at UVic University – they were very different. Languages ​​are different and the way things are handled is different. I have taught every grade level in the school system. The transition to university was a big challenge for me.

JJK: Did you manage to see any of it [other] Changes over time working with universities?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I think there’s been a lot of changes, probably really due to the fact that there are so many First Nation champions working at UVic and Camosun – I think pretty much people like Lorna Williams, who championed UVic’s language program and opened up a lot of different spaces.

The different parts of UVic are becoming more and more attractive to First Nations students. I know that many of the students I have seen go through the system, teach in the system or work for their nation as teachers.

JJK: In statment provided by Royal Roads and they mention that you designed an Aboriginal education curriculum. Who do you design for? How was this experience for you?

Convention on Biological Diversity: That was completely different. I worked with a lady named Karen Clark, who was working in the school district designing the curriculum. The first book we published was about the arts and culture of the First Nations. We’ve worked with first nations drumming, singing and storytelling. We linked stories to different things we can make.

[For example]In order to improve teaching, we will talk about transportation, explain how canoes were carved and built, and what they are used for. So students are given experience with First Nations art, and how designs are made.

We were talking about the different parts of the culture that we are allowed to share, and what we weren’t talking about – to show that we have limits.

JJK: Was this a good experience for you, by creating this curriculum?

Convention on Biological Diversity: It was very hard and difficult, all the extra hours of explanation, page by page.

We’ll focus on all the different things, like masks. We’ll explain why masks are used and how to put them together – using layers and art layers to really give students the experience of creating a mask they can wear.

We’ll do this along with making the cutouts for the canoe. I saw students on the news dropping out of a school with canoes and realizing that the curriculum had gone all the way across Canada.

JJK: That’s cool! What are you working on now since you retired? Do you have any projects on the go currently?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I do a lot of rest in drawing because it relaxes me. And I love animation. I design logos for people. I designed the learning area years ago, and it was a 4×4 acrylic board. We’ll use that for a conference. I find things that I feel comfortable with, and I don’t feel pressured to do things.

JJK: Is there anything in particular that you would like to remember?

Convention on Biological Diversity: I am family focused – it has always been a great honor for me to be a father, grandfather and great-grandparents. Other than that, my aspirations are to be able to create when I am asked to be creative and when I feel the urge to do so. I would like people to remember me as an elder and as a person.

JJK: Thank you for sharing and getting ready to talk to me! Congratulations once again on your honorary doctorate.

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