Wilderness Awareness School is committed to fostering a culture that:
- Recognizes difference.
- Invites diverse perspectives.
- Acknowledges current inequities and grief resulting from centuries of oppression in all its forms, including structural racism.
- Cultivates an increasingly welcoming space for diverse representation of staff, students, apprentices, board, and elders.
In 2017, we founded an Equity Council with the charter to shape practices and policies in service to justice. We encourage and support students, staff, elders, families, and other stakeholders of WAS to build their own awareness and deepen their skill sets required for a just and equitable future for all.
The Wilderness Awareness School Equity Council supports our organization as we navigate the inspiring, challenging, and complex terrain of creating more welcoming, accepting, learning and working environments. Historical structures have long been at work in keeping some groups of people from having meaningful connection to the natural world. WAS is committed to doing our best to identify these barriers in service to empowering access for more people who desire it. While this work is generational and ongoing, the council serves as an advisory group supporting students, staff, elders, board, parents, and other supporters in making concrete steps towards a more just and equitable community and organization.
We support WAS in these core pillars of learning and growth:
- To raise awareness of the native communities, cultures, and knowledge that have created a deep history of this place we now call home, the Snoqualmie Valley, and the history of, and present-day relationships between settler-colonial cultures and indigenous cultures in our region and beyond.
- To represent our history and curriculum in a way that honors our legacy, and also creates an inclusive and welcoming environment for learning. We will honor and acknowledge the skills and traditions of native communities that now inform some of the curriculum at our programs.
- To cultivate a more welcoming and accepting space for diverse representation of staff, students, apprentices, board and elders. We see equity and inclusion work as a constant practice and dialogue that is most effective when there is unity and understanding. The Equity Council is tasked with keeping these conversations alive and present for all stakeholder groups in our organization and greater community.