Field trip into our own Beliefs: French-Indigenous Decolonization Effort


French Immersion, Cultural Activities, School-level initiative, Northern B.C. Region, 2017-2018


Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) grade 10 French Second Language (FSL) class under the guidance of Nancy Griffith-Zahner

The project:

To weave Indigenous culture, language, and appreciation into grade 10 FSL classes throughout the school year and finish with a celebration learning field trip which I was taking to the Nass Valley (Nisga’a territory)  and see how that experience might impact on not only their use of French, but also on their understanding of the need for a paradigm shift in our languages department toward decolonization and reconciliation.


The students had a lot of fun and enjoyed the social and bonding aspects of the day-long trip. There was a lot of food, music, and laughing on the chartered buses, with teachers joining in on the hijinks.  

All students who went on the trip learned a great deal about Nisga’a history, current issues, future plans, and many aspects of Nisga’a culture and tradition. We were hosted at the Nisga’a Elementary and Secondary School by a teacher there, who arranged for an Elder to lead us.

FSL students benefited greatly by immersing themselves in an Indigenous culture (other than the one in which they are immersed daily, the Ts’msyen culture) and making the connections between why it is as important to study Indigenous art as it is to study French and other European art. Students also learned about the issues of cultural ownership of designs and images, which is not usually an element of our French art unit.