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'It connected me to the land again': Land Based Learning allows students to learn, reconnect with culture


Over 120 students and staff from multiple schools dropped a line into Katepwa Lake Friday by taking part in the fifth annual Land Based Learning Fishing Derby, put on by Peepeekisis School.

Christopher Bird, the Peepeekisis land based educator who facilitated the event, said it’s all about a way of traditional teachings and living off the land.

“We’re teaching our kids treaty rights and their inherit rights to the land, as well as teaching them to be good stewards of the land, to protect our waterways, protect our fisheries,” said Bird.

Although prizes were given to students, staff and educators, the event is much more than just catching a few fish. The program has allowed many students the ability to learn and survive off the land.

Bird added that some students who have been in the program for a few years are now teaching the younger students.

“It’s helped me to relax because everyone’s always on their phones and everything. And then when we’re out and about out here, we don’t really have time. It connected me to the land again,” said Montana Bellegarde, a Peepeekisis Grade 12 student.

“You feel like you're learning a bit about your identity. It’s a pretty great experience,” added another Peepeekisis senior, Brea Cote.

Muscowpetung School was another participating in the event, which included Balcarres, along with individual students from as far away as Ocean Man First Nation.

“It feels good and it’s good to have knowledge of [land based teachings] and to have an understanding, because we could use this knowledge one day,” said Muscowpetung’s Muriel Stevenson.

Bird hopes the students are able to return to their classrooms with newfound knowledge.

“I’m hoping that the kids will be able to go home and tell their parents and [family] about fishing with them and what they learnt and perhaps build a healthy hobby for families to learn,” he said. Top Stories

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