Land-based learning support is a new venture for Art for Aid as of January 2022. We will serve at least 1 remote school annually to supply them with their wish-list of items for existing outdoor winter land-based learning programs. Program supplies will be shipped and stored in large heavy duty tote bins to keep them well protected and ready to use for a number of years. The bins are dry, sturdy, stackable and easily transported. You can support this program by donating to Art for Aid through www.ilfp.ca.
March 2022 - Kistaganwacheeng Elementary School in Garden Hill, Manitoba.
The school has an existing program but students are often turned away because they don’t have the proper outdoor gear for a winter day on the lake. Students work with qualified teachers and Elders, learning to ice fish. They learn net handling and all about ice safety and survival. They learn how to prepare food, how to recognize and work with traditional medicines, and learn about the importance of sustainable harvesting practices.
Youth connect to their culture in the natural world in real time, and it’s all done in the traditional language as much as possible. In Garden Hill, the program runs from September to April. This support will ensure that youth have greater access to this program.
On the Land Program - Warm Winter Gear
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...
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. (Volunteers are taking the shipment over the ice roads to Garden Hill.) 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 for their Sew & Sew Skills Lab so young people have an opportunity to connect to the love of sewing. The 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