My name is Tara Helps and I’m the Aboriginal Support Worker here at Langley Fine Arts. I am of Metis/Cree and Irish/Scottish ancestry. I have been with the Aboriginal program for six years. Like many of our students and families I am still learning about who I am and where I come from.
Five years ago, I was given an, honourary, traditional name by Kwantlen First Nation. My name is temex’welwet’; which means “female who carries the name land”. I was extremely humbled to receive this name in an honorary naming ceremony and acknowledge the responsibility of carrying this traditional name. Traditional drumming and singing are a passion of mine and I participate in the Langley School District’s Aboriginal Drum group, the Redhawk Drummers and Singers. For the last five years I have been learning hunqeminem’, a Coast Salish language dialect and the traditional language of this land, through the University of British Columbia, Musqueam and Kwantlen First Nation. For the past two years I have had the privilege of joining two canoe journeys, with Kwantlen First Nation and The Pulling Together Canoe Journey Society. These unforgettable trips have been immeasurable in cultural knowledge and teachings, connecting me to the water, the land and to our Coast Salish Aboriginal communities of the Interior and the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.
My focus with students is to provide them with a sense of belonging and connection to their school, their peers, their culture and themselves. I work with teachers and admin to ensure that Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing are respected and honoured in our school and in our classrooms. I encourage healthy living by promoting a balanced Mind, Heart, Body and Spirit and to live by the Seven Grandfather Teachings of Love, Respect, Honesty, Truth, Wisdom, Humility and Courage. I believe both culture and academics to be important to student success and encourage a balance of both. Hands-on, experiential learning and cultural teachings bring a sense of pride to our youth that benefits them in the classroom and in our communities.
Throughout the year I hope to get to know students and families through cultural activities, events in the school and the community abroad. I work with students in a variety of ways; in class, small group work, school events and other district/school events. Working with each student, as best works for them and their families.
This year I will be working Monday through Friday at LFAS providing emotional, educational, cultural, and community support to our students and their families. I am looking forward to our journey together.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”. – Gandhi