Students Enjoy Land-Based Learning in Swan River First Nation

Students Enjoy Land-Based Learning in Swan River First Nation
Posted on 12/05/2023
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Students from  Kinuso School have been learning about bear grease preparation as part of the Land-Based Learning partnership with Swan River First Nation.


As shared by Indigenous Education Coach Leads Jamie Chalifoux and Keith Laboucan, maskwa (bear) travels all throughout the land and consumes beings of all nations: plant nation, fish nation, bird nation, etc. Through this, it collects medicinal properties from these diverse beings, storing them within its fat.


The traditional uses of bear fat are to stimulate hair growth, and to rub into the skin as a topical medicine for relief of pains such as arthritis, cuts, rashes and burns. In some cases, it can also be applied to drums to keep the hide flexible and vibrant.


The High Prairie School Division is proud to include land-based learning in its educational programming. All teachings that take place on the land are connected to the classroom through the Alberta Education program of studies. Relocating the classroom to the land allows for true connection with the earth, plants, animals, and one another. These teachings are always offered by Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers and are an opportunity for students to receive the passing down of knowledge in a traditional way.


One of the most important aspects of land-based learning is the building of relationships not only with the land but also with each other. There is a richness of learning in sharing stories and family ancestry between the Elders and students in communities. This connection-building is important in discovering who we are, where we come from, and our place in the world.


Thank you to Elders Eleanor Sawan, Gordon Courtoreille, and John Purvis from Swan River First Nation for sharing this traditional knowledge with our students.

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