Treaty 2 Territory – Aki (Land) is a good teacher. Many of our lessons learned come from the land. The land tells stories; about our people and how they survived for centuries and about that powerful connection to Mother Earth and all that she provides.
Land-Based Education at Ebb and Flow School has been active for a couple of years now, and as it continues to grow, it has become incredibly popular with the students. The Land-Based Education Program exists as a place where all mentors and students are able to learn from one another while being out on the land or in the water; a place where children and youth are able to connect with Elders and Knowledge Keepers to learn and restore our Anishinaabemowin language.
Last fall students were taken out on overnight camping trips to learn how to survive on the land, and granted a period of time where they can disconnect from technology to enjoy the freshness of the autumn air while visiting, cooking, and learning with Elders.
Following a busy Spring hunting and dressing goose, the Land Based Education students are once again out enjoying a connection to our beautiful Mother Earth. With higher than normal water levels, the creeks and rivers are flowing with an abundance of fish. The students have been out in cohorts on a daily basis enjoying the weather with their peers, teachers, and Elders as they fill pail after pail of suckers and pickerel.
Following the days catch and clean up of their site, the students travel back to the School’s Home Economic Room where they learn to clean, fillet, grind, and package their harvest. They often sit down to a warm, delicious meal with potatoes, vegetables, and bannock as they reap the rewards of their effort being out on the land.
Instructors Jeff Monkman, Clayton Houle, Phyllis Racette, and Donna Malcolm mentor the students, and coordinate all of the travel arrangements, ensuring students safety, and engaging the students with Knowledge Keepers while out on the land.
The Program offers a very busy and popular Facebook page where students, teachers, parents, and Elders can see pictures and videos of the daily activities. School staff have shared that there has been significant change with many students in terms of improved behavior, and respect, along with a decline in bullying and violence by students who take part in the program. It is evident that hands on learning, and the connection to their identity and way of life assist with and improve learning outcomes.
Our Government of First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory commend Ebb and Flow School for their tremendous efforts in providing such important learning opportunities for our young ones. Land-based learning will go a long way in guiding them as providers of sustenance, and allow them to pass down their knowledge to their Abinoonjiiag someday. We salute all those students who are getting involved and using this opportunity to learn, and connect with Aki, and our Knowledge Keepers.
We wish the students, staff, and Ka Ka Kwe Ke Jeong Anishinaabe Nation continued success!!
Marlene Davis, Nation and Economic Development Helper
Last modified: May 13, 2022