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Culture as a Source of Wellness

20181128 Resiliency Summit KM 0536

Culture as a Source of Wellness is a program that aims to connect cultural supports to First Nation populations in school communities. These initiatives impact the school staff, the student body and the spirit of the school.

Culture is widely seen as vital to the identity of First Nations people. Culture may look like community events that involve crafting, dance or music. Often we will work to connect students with local Elders through partnerships with local First Nations and friendship centers. Addressing culture for our First Nation students is crucial to their success as it is said that once the culture of a community is healthy then the members of that community can grow and reach their full potential.

Our Resilient Schools team holds a wealth of knowledge and community connections to support cultural activities and utilize traditional wisdom keepers. Our staff recognizes the challenges that our First Nation students may experience, and we aim to support youth by creating supportive environments that respect culture and traditional practices. We work to have Elders and knowledge keepers present at our events to open the day in a good way, provide opportunities for all those who wish to smudge, and encourage students to practice their traditional language.

Culture as a Source of Wellness works with the school communities to address the cultural supports requested by students. This is achieved through relationship building and collaborative efforts with the respective school community. It can sometimes be challenging to find Elders or traditional wisdom keepers that are willing to share the knowledge and wisdom to staff and students. We are always learning about protocol, traditional games and storytelling. We understand that our learning is ongoing and appreciate when schools are open to helping us to have a positive impact on their school community.

"We had such a great day out on the hill, participating in outdoor traditional games. The kids had a great time and I think we learned a lot of valuable stuff about how to play traditional games, why they were played, and how to facilitate them ourselves back in our own school. Our Culture teacher now plans to take the kids out after spring break to collect material from nature and make our own versions of the games. I think the students will really enjoy that. Thank you for everything you've brought to our school, it is really making a difference in the students attitudes, outlook, and leadership skills."

- Teacher, after Treaty 7 Winter Traditional Games

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