Layla attends school on a Native reserve and has been very lucky to be involved with and learn many of the beliefs and customs of the Osoyoos Indian Band, including their Okanagan Language.
This Christmas Layla's school, Sen Pok Chin, decided to reproduce the Tale of the Nativity, as written by the children of the Inkameep Day School in 1940, exactly 70 years ago. The play was great but I also enjoyed the speakers prior to the play who spoke of the history of the school and the challenges they had to deal with in keeping their culture alive. We even heard from some of the band's Elders who had been students at this school in the 1940s. They spoke about the great successes of the school's art and drama productions. They even have a letter from Walt Disney inviting them to Disneyland. Unfortunately, due to the World War, they were unable to attend but the letter will be put on display at the Desert Cultural Centre at Nk'mip Resort. There are few pieces left to show for the many productions they put on. When their teacher enlisted for war, the new teacher taught them that what they were doing was evil and burned all of their masks, costumes and so forth.
The Elders were followed by the play, A Tale of the Native Nativity. I was not successful at getting very good photos, especially since I was wrestling the badest-boy-ever the whole time. Hope you get the idea anyways.
The Play begins in a small village where Mari is visited by the winged man to tell her she will become the mother of the great chief.
The couple travel to the village of the Great Chief and as no TeePees or lodges are available, they live in a cave with the animals to entertain them and keep them warm. Here the baby is born and they are visited by three hunters and three chiefs.
Mari and Susap take the baby to see the Prophet and the Medicine Woman. When they are visited by the Winged Man, they learn that the baby is in danger and they must move again.
The children did a fantastic job. Layla was a winged man along with the rest of her grade one classmates. They sang some beautiful Christmas songs in English as well as in Okanagan.