On the way to Garden Hill!
On March 10, 2022, a truck left the Art for Aid shipping office in Carleton Place, Ontario, with program supplies for a land-based learning and language component of Garden Hill’s Kistaganwacheeng Elementary School in Manitoba. If arrived on March 31 in Garden Hill just before the ice roads had to close for the season. (Whew!)
Several years ago I connected with Ivan Harper, a teacher who had been running a land-based learning component. We discussed shipping art supplies, his program needs, barriers and a wish list. His primary concern is insufficient footwear for youth who want to come out on land for the winter program. Youth spend an entire day on the ice learning about fishing, food preparation, sustainable practices, safety and first aid, survival, traditional knowledge, cooking, and so much more. As much as possible, the class is conducted in the Ojibway language; often Elders come along to offer support, knowledge and wisdom. The youth have a lot of questions and are hungry for knowledge. Some are unable to attend the winter program because they don’t have footwear to be on a frozen lake for very long. Additionally footwear needs to be 100% waterproof, further driving up the cost of the gear needed for this program. Factor in a limited budget and shipping costs, and you have the trifecta of program barriers.
Project planning began on January 11, 2022 and the shipment went out March 10, 2022. It made it over the ice roads with little time to spare.
The Call Out for Program Support
Art for Aid asked for support in January 2021 for this program and in less than 3 months, the combined efforts of a caring network saw important program supplies collected to help build bridges between youth, the land and their language. With I Love First Peoples we ran a three-week fundraiser and collected nearly $750.00 - just short of the shipping costs to get the items to Winnipeg.
- Final dollar value to support this important program was $7,021.79.
The shipment: We shipped waterproof boots rated to -100F, hand and foot warmers, balaclavas, toques, wool socks, and ice fishing gear. Included with this were two Janome sewing machines and boxes of sewing supplies. The Sew & Sew Skills Lab programis run by our host agency, I Love First Peoples. Young people have an opportunity to connect to the joys of sewing. The entire shipment went out in large heavy duty totes to allow easy and dry storage for all the items once they reach the school.
It’s so important to empower youth through access to quality program supplies. We believe strongly in the connection between youth, land and language, and we’re grateful that you do as well.
In the News ...
CBC NEWS - Garden Hill, Manitoba
Fisherman believes economic opportunities exist in First Nation's fishing industry
Meagan Fiddler · CBC News · Posted: Apr 16, 2016 10:00 AM CT | Last Updated: April 16, 2016