A New Summer Program Running from July 11-29th for Indigenous Youth at Sudbury Catholic Focuses on Building Traditional Knowledge in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
This summer, Indigenous students from Sudbury Catholic Schools will participate in an exciting program as they participate in a new Earth-Based Learning course. This course is a unique summer program involving an exciting partnership with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, Great Lakes Cultural Camps, Akinoomoshin Inc and Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.
The Board revealed the new program in the spring and were ecstatic to see the high level of interest. In only a matter of weeks, the program, which is the first of its kind for Sudbury Catholic District School Board, quickly filled up with eager participants.
Taking place in the community of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, the course was offered for Indigenous students moving from grade 8 to grade 9 and grade 9 moving to grade 10. Students will attend the sacred grounds every Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for an educational experience that provides special opportunities to explore and strengthen Anishinaabe identity through cultural place-based learning, allowing students to earn a high school credit while learning from the land.
To help celebrate and honour the program’s official start last Monday, we provide a glimpse into the instructive hands-on learning activities students have participated in during their first week!
WEEK 1 ACTIVITIES
Monday & Tuesday
On days 1 and 2 of the Earth-Based Learning Program, students helped to build the teaching lodge, harvest and clean sweet grass, and also enjoyed taking time to connect to the Earth. Students were also taught a brief account of the community’s story and the area they are learning. This fantastic lesson was presented by anishinaabemwid, Lorney Bob.
On day 3, Earth-Based Learning students took the water at Bell Park to complete their swim tests. All students completed their tests successfully and will be ready for the upcoming activities taking place over the next few weeks.
On day 4, students had fun learning about the sustainable harvesting of materials. Taking what they learned into practice, students then had the opportunity to make their own wiigwas basket. Wiigwaas is the anishinaabemowin word for birch bark, a textile traditionally used to make baskets, canoes, shelters, etc.
On day 5, students took advantage of the beautiful weather and set off on a hike to Pigeon Mountain. The group was accompanied by Lornie Bob and Papa Art Petahtegoose, who shared stories along the way, making for an even richer learning experience. On their trek, students visited the spring water, spent time reflecting, and enjoyed lunch as they admired the breathtaking natural scenery. It was a great trip and the perfect end to the program’s first week!
“Our goal is to help students build relationships with the land, the water and each other. We are ecstatic we can provide this meaningful opportunity as it supports earth-based learning and shares traditional knowledge and practices that each of these students will value and carry with them throughout their lives. We already see students’ developing connections and coming out of their shells. Chi miigwech to the community and all those supporting our young learners. We look forward to continuing to follow their journeys as they form meaningful bonds with their environment and discover and connect themselves to the Earth.” – Ginette Toivenen, Indigenous Education Lead for Sudbury Catholic District School Board
The course is designed to spark curiosity and create awareness of stewardship initiatives in the Great Lakes, Anishinaabe Food Systems, practices and kendaasowin (learning) on the land. Students will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the social, cultural, economic, and political developments of First Nations, Metis and Inuit individuals and communities. The learning will include history from precontact to the present day through a hands-on approach to learning. This will be a land-based opportunity that will encourage fun and laughter throughout the learning.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board aspires that this program will help students form greater connections to the land while nurturing spirituality and values in an environment where they can share traditional knowledge. We look forward to seeing this program in action over the following weeks and wish our students the best of luck and fun in their learning!
To see what other activities are happening, check out our SCDSB Indigenous Education Facebook page!