Tim Masso, 13, said he asked school officials if he could help teach the Indigenous studies course at Ucluelet Secondary School on British Columbia’s West Coast even though he is still learning the Nuu-chah-nulth language.
He was among people asking questions after Indigenous Affairs Minister Carol Bennett spoke at an Assembly of First Nations annual meeting.
Masso’s voice choked with emotion as he explained his despair signing up for an Indigenous language course at his high school but instead being sent out to pick berries.
“The next week we just kept picking berries, and they just chucked them out,” he told about 200 people at the Songhees Wellness Centre. “I said, ‘Do you want me to do the language, because it doesn’t really look like we’re doing it.”’
Masso said he suggested bringing elders from his community to help with the classes.
“It would be great if we had elders there,” he said. “I don’t know. I can’t really do the language, because I’m still learning and if we had the elders there we could do it. It’s just silly.”