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Ray Qwulshemut Peter

According to traditional teachings of the Coast Salish people, a person's ability to answer the questions, "Who am I? Where am I? And who are my ancestors?" determines the quality of their relationships to all things in the environment. In this tradition, knowing who and where you are breaks down cultural barriers and harmonizes dealings with others. These teachings provide an appropriate start for a respectful description of Ray (Qwulshemut) Peter's work in promoting and celebrating cultural diversity among all peoples.

Known to all as Uncle Ray, Peter's approach to cross-cultural teaching and learning is personal and joyfully relentless. He teaches one person at a time. He affects each individual's understanding of other cultures by, first and foremost, encouraging them to know themselves. Peter encourages every person to have pride in their own culture, as he believes this leads to being sensitive to all cultural perspectives. By doing so, he facilitates inclusiveness among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Peter is a respected elder in his home community. A Cowichan Tribe member, he is a survivor of the residential school experience. His lifelong commitment to teaching and learning began in the public school system in the 1970s as a teacher's aide and Hul'qumi'num language teacher. Since 1996, Peter has held the elder-in-residence position at what is now Vancouver Island University, as well as being an elder and resource for Tillicum Haus, a native friendship centre in Nanaimo. He has done extensive work with friendship centres on Vancouver Island.

A highly respected performer, singer and dancer, Peter continues to lead the Tzinquaw Dancers, a traditional Coast Salish dance group he founded in 1967. The group has toured in North America, Asia, Europe and South America. Through song, story and dialogue, Peter celebrates every person's heritage and creates a foundation for respect and appreciation of all cultures. In all his roles, Peter shows a profound commitment to working with people of all ages, ethnic origins and socioeconomic backgrounds, with many attesting Peter has changed their lives for the better.

Raven And Eagle
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Salish; Coast Salish;
Grade Levels: Preschool; Kindergarten; 1;

Raven learns a powerful lesson from his friend, Eagle. Learn and understand from others, but most importantly, be yourself!

Authentic Canadian Content
Authentic Indigenous Text