22 First Nation Schools received $500 grants to develop initiatives that promoted Indigenous ways of wellness. Check out their stories below. Don’t forget this year’s HSBC First Nation School Grant Applications are open until November 30th!
Coldwater School Project:
As a part of their holistic values in traditional practices for health and wellness, Coldwater School used their HSBC First Nations School Grant to provide supplies for their breakfast program. Before receiving the funds for their breakfast program, students were reportedly arriving to school without eating. The new breakfast program provided by the HSBC grant has enabled students to not only consume healthy foods, but bring their new healthy eating ideas to their homes, and build on a broader Native Language vocabulary around conversations about eating.
Gitsegukla Elementary used their HSBC First Nations School Grant to support their Summer Literacy Program for students in grades K-7. The grant provided the opportunity for the school to supply their students with materials needed for traditional fishing techniques and to bring in two members from the community to help aid with their program. Students in grades 6 & 7 were able to learn how to catch fish, while other students were involved in learning how to dress and prepare fish for jarring, and how to prepare the fish for cooking.
Ntamtqen Snm’a?m’aya?tn School:
The HSBC First Nations School Grant supported the creation of a Cultural/ Indigenous Garden at Ntamtqen School. The funds helped the school to purchase a Tilt Auger to dig holes for plantings, pergolas, and Indigenous plants. The grant provided their students with an opportunity to learn about the Indigenous plants of the region, their history and uses, and how the habitat is restored for insects, animals, and community. In addition to this, educators at Ntamtqen noted that the garden project is re-connecting students to their natural environment and providing the community with an opportunity to participate and share their knowledge with the students.
Sen Pok Chin:
Sen Pok Chin School in Osoyoos implemented The Human Talking Stick Project with their funds from the HSBC First Nations School Grant. The purpose of The Human Talking Stick Project was to connect Elders and students. The HSBC grant provided the means to bring in ten Elders to do so.
One day a week, for ten weeks, an Elder devoted time to Sen Pok Chin students during the school’s lunch hour. Students connected, sat closely, shared their stories, ideas, thoughts, and feelings with an Elder. The project not only had positive effects on the mental health of students at Sen Pok Chin, but also reportedly provided added benefits for the Elders that were involved as well.
Tsay Keh Dene:
The staff of Tsay Keh Dene school are continually looking for ways to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and traditional healing practices into their curriculum and regimen. Tsay Keh Dene specifically used their HSBC grant to purchase five tents for the school. The tents have enabled students, staff, Elders and community members to connect in traditional settings including a yoga facility and community in the Nass Valley, camping on Tsay Keh Dene territory at Blue Lake with students from the Kwadacha community, and a tour of the Bennet Dam which has important history for the Tsay Keh Dene peoples.
The outdoor trips were reported by staff at Tsay Keh Dene as highly impactful, creating many memorable experiences for all who were involved.
Wil Sii Sit’ aatkw School:
The Wil Sii Sit’ aatkw school community used their HSBC grant to purchase drum making material and to compensate a member of their community to facilitate and assist families in traditional drum making. Once the drums were completed, the school hosted an event to engage community members in traditional family involvement. This traditional family involvement included men teaching the younger generation how to make traditional drums for use at home, in the school, and in larger community performances with traditional dance groups.
One of the main outcomes of this initiative reported by Wil Sii Sit’ aatkw school staff was the strengthening of positive relationships with community members, tradition, and family values.
W̱ SÁNEĆ – Saanich Adult Learning Centre
The HSBC First Nations School Grant supported the purchasing of food items for W̱SÁNEĆ Adult Learning Centre to develop Traditional Thursdays as a part of their school food program. School staff reported that Traditional Thursdays provided an opportunity for students and staff to feed their hearts, souls and spirits with some traditional foods. Some of the food items included were salmon, halibut, bannock, and hamburger soup. Traditional Thursdays not only provided nourishment, but also gave students and staff the opportunity to work together in the kitchen and share unique stories and recipes for preparing the food items.