Kistaganwacheeng Elementary School Garden Hill, MB
March 2022 - Kistaganwacheeng Elementary School in Garden Hill, Manitoba.
Youth connect to their culture in the natural world in real time through these programs. Where possible, it’s all built around traditional language and practices. In Garden Hill, the program runs from September to April.
Several years ago I connected with Ivan Harper, a teacher who had been running a land-based learning program where students spend an entire day (or more) on the ice learning about fishing, food preparation, sustainable practices, safety and first aid, survival, traditional knowledge, cooking, and so much more. Often Elders come along to offer support, knowledge and cultural wisdom. The youth have a lot of questions and are hungry for knowledge.
THE PROBLEM A number of students cannot attend the program because they don’t have footwear to be on a frozen lake. 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 high shipping costs, and you have the trifecta of program barriers for a remote community school.
Project planning for this school 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. We greatly appreciate the drivers at Direction North for helping us.
We were able to ship a number of boots. All were waterproof winter-wear. Many were rated to -100F. We shipped 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 reached the school.
*The Sew & Sew Skills Lab Program is through I Love First Peoples (www.ilfp.ca)