In 2004, with the objective of supporting Coast Salish artists who were reviving the traditional Salish art style, we started commissioning limited-edition silkscreen prints (or serigraphs) from seven artists. Each edition counts 50 prints, and all prints are 22-inch square. By the end of 2015, we had 27 limited editions of 50 prints each.
Back in 2008, inspired by Susan Point’s Salish Weave panel of nine carvings, we created a group of prints by taking prints numbered 1/50 from each of the first nine editions and called it Salish Weave Box Set I, 1/50. We carried on until we had 50 Box Sets I. In 2010, nine other commissions of limited-edition prints had been completed and assembled in the same way so that 50 Box Sets II, and by the end of 2015 there were also 50 Box Sets III.
Focused on raising the awareness of Salish art and artists, we gifted Box Set prints and other works to galleries, museums, colleges, and universities and supported exhibitions, displays, and publications. This journey led us to venture into supporting education at the University of Victoria through programs in Visual Anthropology and Indigenous Education. In conversation with a friend of the university, we learned that an elementary school teacher longed to bring ‘real’ art to the classroom. We made this teacher’s wish a reality by giving Box Set prints to the teacher’s school district.
This was 2014 and the seed of the Salish Weave School Program was planted. Its objective would be to give the same opportunity to teachers of all school districts located in traditional Salish Territories. The prints of the Box Sets became the Salish Weave ‘working collection’ destined for the classrooms.
At the beginning of the program, we simply distributed prints to some school districts of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Soon, we learned of the new BC curriculum adding Indigenous perspectives in all subjects at all grade levels and realized that teaching resources were needed to support the use of the prints in the classrooms. To that effect, we initiated two projects.
The first project of the Salish Weave school program started as a pilot project in 2017 within the Cowichan Valley School District 79, and the project team members continue to develop new resources such as lesson plans and activities tailored to meet the diverse needs of their learners. The second pilot project was launched in 2019 in partnership with the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. This project ran for a year until early March 2020.
To view the prints of each of the Box Sets and which school districts hold them, view the Salish Weave Box Sets module below.
We view the prints of the Box Sets as a ‘working collection’ where the prints of which are used in classrooms as teaching resources across subjects to support learning at all grade levels.
The prints of Box Set I, II and III have all been commissioned from Coast Salish artists from 2004 to 2015. We have donated these three sets to eight school districts on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and to l’École Au-coeur-de- l’île of Comox (British Columbia Francophone School Authority) between 2017 and 2019.
The prints of Box Set IV, published by the artists and acquired by Salish Weave from 2004 to 2007, were assembled in early 2020 to distribute to school districts of the Lower Mainland along with Box Set II. Stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope to resume the distribution to the remaining school districts later this year.
Salish Weave Box Sets: Where are they now?
We created a table that identifies which Box Sets were donated to each of the school districts located on traditional Salish territory. Click here to view the table.
Teachers are advised to contact the Aboriginal Education department, Resource Centre, or Learning Commons of their respective districts to inquire about the availability of the prints and the process by which they can be reserved and borrowed.
We invite teachers to familiarize themselves with the Box Sets prints and explore some of the teaching resources on this website. We also encourage teachers to devise new ways of integrating the Salish Weave Box Set prints into the curriculum and welcome the contribution of their work and the sharing of resources on this website. Teachers who are willing to share can submit their work for posting on this website at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2017, inspired by the gift of contemporary Coast Salish prints and the introduction of the new British Columbia curriculum, three teachers joined together to devise ways to integrate more Indigenous perspectives into their practice. The objectives of this pilot project were to:
- build a collection of lessons plans, teaching aids and resources to support the use of the prints in the classroom, and
- seek opportunities (such as professional development days) to encourage teachers to integrate the prints into all subjects of the curriculum.
Since the beginning of the project, the teachers were mentored through consultations with the Aboriginal Education Principal and team, and the Learning Commons personnel. In collaboration with fellow educators, the project team experimented the resources in the classrooms. Since then, the project team has doubled in size and renewed its focus on creating resources for Early Learners from K to grade 3.
The team designed and successfully implemented a variety of lessons, using ‘real art” in the classroom to make cross-curricular connections at all grade levels. Whether in art, science, language arts, social studies, or land-based education, Indigenous content is being integrated into daily lessons and all students are learning about traditional Salish design elements, motifs, symbols, and stories. Furthermore, fellow teachers from other school districts of Vancouver Island have also shared their work and resources promoting a valued collaboration between districts. The following lesson plans are the result of such collaboration between the Comox, Cowichan and Sooke school districts.
With the assistance of the Cowichan Valley District Learning Commons (DLC), the project team created a series of teaching notes. Each includes an introduction to the Salish Weave Collection, the title, image and publication date of the print, the photograph and biography of the artist, and an artist or curatorial statement. The Teaching Notes are currently available for the 27 prints of Box Sets I, II and III on the Cowichan DLC website. View the Salish Weave Art Print Teaching Notes.
- TEACHING NOTES for Salish Weave Box Set Prints (Reference: All Grades)
- Themes Within Salish Weave Box Sets 1 & 2 (Reference: All Grades)
- Coast Salish Design Elements, Number Sense, and Bear (Grade K-2)
- Coast Salish Design Elements and Frog (Grade K-2)
- Analog Coding with Thunderbird and Killerwhale (Grade K-3)
- How Many? Numeracy, Vocabulary, and Salmon (Grade K-4)
- Introduction to Coast Salish Design Elements and Visual Thinking Strategies (Grade 3/4)
- The Story of Thunderbird and Killerwhale (Grade 3/4)
- REINTERPRETATION Project: Perspectives on Coast Salish Art (Grade 3/4)
- Spindle Whorl Cutouts (Grade 5/6)
- Identity/Ancestry Mandala Project (Grade 9-12)
- Identity-Based Multi-Media Project (Grade 10-12)
Professional Development Days
Since 2017, the project team has shared its collective learning with colleagues of the Cowichan and other school districts. Through a comprehensive and interactive display, the team members illustrate how to integrate Coast Salish art into any and all facets of the curriculum using samples of lesson plans and of student learning alongside the associated Box Set prints. The Teaching Notes and additional Coast Salish resources are also available for perusal by the attending teachers.
Presentations and workshops for educators and assistants have been given to the Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Saanich, and Sooke school districts, and to l’École Au-coeur-de- l’île of Comox (British Columbia Francophone School Authority). In addition, the project team leader presented to Education students enrolled in the June 2018 and 2019 Summer Institutes in Indigenous Education at the University of Victoria.
As the project continues later in 2020 and beyond, the Cowichan Valley team will post more lesson plans, resources and activity ideas, and share their learnings through presentations and workshops
By the end of 2018, the experience of the Cowichan Valley project and the sharing of its learning with other school districts demonstrated that the Salish Weave School Program served as a successful model for sharing Indigenous art to enrich the learning opportunities in the classrooms. It also attested that teachers tasked with bringing Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum needed help and resources.
Already engaged in supporting the Summer Institute in Indigenous Education program at the University of Victoria, we shared our findings with its educators and sought advice and help in advancing the school program. The Faculty of Education proposed to partner with us and, in 2019, launched a pilot project whereby an education coordinator appointed by UVic Education would:
- contact school districts to distribute Salish Weave Box Sets and curriculum materials,
- develop further curriculum materials to support the use of the Box Sets in the classrooms, and
- begin the development of an approach to evaluate the use of and impact of the Box Sets.
The education coordinator started work on Vancouver Island by visiting the Cowichan Valley project team leader to collect information about the district pilot project, its outcomes, and its effects on integrating Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum through the use of Salish art. Afterward, all other school districts that had received box sets were visited to inquire about how the prints are circulated among the schools, integrated into the curriculum, and used in the classrooms. In addition, the education coordinator gathered information about the resources that are available to and used by the teachers. Lastly, the remaining two school districts were contacted, given Box Sets I, II, and III, and informed of available curriculum materials and other resources.
The information collected was documented in two documents titled Salish Weave in the Classroom: Implementing Salish Weave art box sets into classroom curriculum. These were published in the form of two booklets, a blue-covered one for school administrators and a red-covered one for teachers. Following a limited distribution of the booklets, it was decided to combine them into one document posted on UVic’s Faculty of Education website and here.
In parallel, plans were made to take the Salish Weave school program to the Mainland. A new and different Box Set IV was assembled specifically for distribution to Mainland school districts. In early March 2020, the education coordinator met with Aboriginal Education representatives of 8 school districts and brought them Box Sets II and IV before the Covid-19 pandemic halted the program. We hope to resume the distribution later this year.
Meanwhile the education coordinator will maintain contact with the Mainland school districts as well as with the Faculty of Education of the local universities that support them, namely the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU).
The Box Set IV was also donated to our school program partners, the Cowichan Valley school district 79 and the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Together, we will continue to support educators who use these resources in the classrooms to broaden and cultivate among K-12 learners the understanding of the art and culture of the Salish people on whose land their homes and schools reside.