Mamawamatawa Holistic Education Center in Constance Lake First Nation is offering its students a more traditional option while earning credits towards their high school diploma.
The vision of the course is to introduce students to the culturally relevant process of trapping, skinning, and selling animal furs while involving Elders as teachers to the youth.
It has become much more. Students are learning outdoor skills like preparing for winter hiking trips and recognizing animal tracks but also learning about conservation regulations and policies that are in place to sustain animal populations.
Student Sonny Sutherland-Taylor says that he “ really likes to make his own traps and catching marten.”
So far students have been able to trap weasels, marten, mink, fisher, and beaver. Students also made a field trip to the Annual Fur Harvesters Auction in North Bay where the students were able to witness the fur market culture first hand.
The program has built positive relations between the youth and elders in the community and students are getting to use their visual and experiential learning skills. The school is now hopeful that the youth will carry on the tradition of trapping in the area.
I feel a greater sense of hope and optimism these days for the future when I talk to many of our young First Nation people. There are still many hurdles and...