There is a group of us at Living Sky School Division, whom are interested in bringing in a land based learning initiative, unlike other school divisions (Saskatoon Catholic School Division for example) or communities, (like Onion Lake and Thunderchild, Muskeg Lake – to name a few.) However; what makes our process special, is that is has direct links to the curriculum outcomes, so teachers don’t have to worry that students are “losing” a few days of class to be a part of Outdoor Education. Tammy Riel has been sharing Cando’s “Old Crowe” experience in the Yukon to provide a model for us to follow.
To begin this process, in the spring of 2013, we began by consulting with our local traditional knowledge keepers and cultural leaders to lead us the right direction, to make this dream a reality. We wanted to hear what should be included in a land-based camp and asked for guidance from twelve of our local knowledge keepers and cultural leaders who have been blessed with some sort of expertise in their lives. Some of those people included: Judy Bear, (Little Pine – Cree)Lorette Peekeekoot (Big River – Cree), Tim Peekeekoot (Atahkakoop – Cree), Daphie Pooyak (Sweetgrass -Cree/Nakota), Noelle Moosuk (Cree – Mosquito), Ethel Stone (Cree Mosquito). From there we hired a curriculum manipulator, Kerri Ceretzke, to list and include their key points or teachings that they wanted to have included and to find a way to link these key teachings to curriculum outcomes within the Saskatchewan Provincial curriculum outcomes for grade 9. (Why grade 9? Well, we had to start somewhere)
While we were working through the process of choosing land based learning sites, we have visited some very beautiful sites, which included a tour by Beau Vandale of Leoville school, to the Chitek Lake’s Boy Scout Camp. Kevin Greyeyes, camp enterpretor and guide toured us through Muskeg Lake’s “Pihtihkwakew Sahkahikan” Regional Lake and campground located near Big Shell Lake. Daphie Pooyak toured us through her sites across Sweetgrass First Nation and shared her medicine teachings and history of the land with us. It was a very enriching afternoon. Michelle Ramsay toured us through Atton’s Lake’s Cadet Site. In the end we chose Chitek Lake for this randition of LBL. Since we began this process, we’ve had 2 years of camp. We started with grade 9’s and expanded to the grade 9/10 in Leoville and Spiritwood. Camp continues to change and grow as the years go by. Always some student has a beautiful video compilation to share. Check out Santanna’s video below to get a snippet of how that experience was to her.