Six Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation students from Prince Albert are in La Ronge this week learning how to make traditional bow and arrows.
Randy Clarke, an education student from the First Nations University of Canada, started the camp to help the students to learn more about their culture, while also gaining experience in teaching land-based lessons.
“A lot of these students grew up in a city so they never had the experience of learning their cultural identities like where they’re from, how their parents were raised, or even their grandparents,” he said. “We wanted to expose them to that, to give them that experience so they know who they are as Woodland Cree people.”
James Ratt is teaching the camp of six students all week, with Friday being the last day.
Clarke said he think the students will leave the camp feeling proud of their heritage.
“At the end, I think they’ll be more proud of who they are as First Nations people,” he said.
The students are learning how to make the bow and arrows from scratch.
They even had to harvest the birch trees needed for the project.
And in addition to that teaching, Clarke said the students are also learning other aspects of their culture.
“They’re learning about the birch tree which you can make a lot of things with,” he said. “You can make canoes out of that and they can be used to make snowshoes. The birch is used for a lot of things. It’s used for medicine and it’s used for baskets. We have an Elder here and he’s teaching them that stuff too. Most of the students that we have here can’t speak their language so we’re trying to expose them to a little bit of their language too. It’s more than just making bow and arrows.”
The camp was funded by Jordan’s Principle.
(Photo of camp participants. Submitted.)