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Grade 8 student teaches indigenous language class at Ucluelet high school

Hjalmer Wenstob listens to Ucluelet Secondary Gr. 8 student Tim Masso, 13, as he sheds tears as he talks about teaching First Nations' language to his fellow classmates and about segregation at his school to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, at the Assembly of First Nations' annual general meeting at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria, B.C. Monday, October 24, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.
Hjalmer Wenstob listens to Ucluelet Secondary Gr. 8 student Tim Masso, 13, as he sheds tears as he talks about teaching First Nations' language to his fellow classmates and about segregation at his school to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, at the Assembly of First Nations' annual general meeting at the Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria, B.C. Monday, October 24, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.

VICTORIA – A Grade 8 student stunned a gathering of national aboriginal leaders and the federal indigenous affairs minister by saying he’s become his school’s indigenous language teacher after one too many berry-picking field trips.

Thirteen-year-old Tim Masso says he’s volunteering to teach the indigenous language course at Ucluelet Secondary School on British Columbia’s west coast even though he is still learning the Vancouver Island Nuu-chah-nulth language.

Masso says he has designed flash cards to help him and his class of 23 students so they can learn the indigenous language.

He was among people asking questions after indigenous affairs minister Carol Bennett spoke at an Assembly of First Nations gathering and said he and his classmates want to feel connected to their own culture.

Bennett says she admires Masso’s efforts and wants to see improvements in indigenous education opportunities across Canada.

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National AFN chief Perry Bellegarde and regional Chief Shane Gottfriedson were also at the gathering.