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Cold Lake First Nations Knowledge Exchange: A Journey of Learning and Connection

A Unique Educational Experience at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range

On March 11, nearly 40 students and staff from Cold Lake High School embarked on an extraordinary trip to the Cold Lake First Nations (CLFN) traditional hunting and fishing areas, located within the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. This visit, a rare opportunity for many, was made possible through the invitation of Nathan Carrier, a CLFN member, turning an Outdoor Education trip into a profound experience of traditional knowledge exchange.

The Power of Partnership

The coordination for accessing the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range (CLAWR) began with an educational intent but quickly transformed into a collaborative effort. Browne Courtorielle, from the CLFN Lands and Resource Department and the Department of Defence Liaison, played a crucial role in this endeavor by working with the DND and the school. As an alumnus of Cold Lake High School (CLHS), Courtorielle's involvement not only facilitated the logistics but also served as an inspiring figure for current students.

Elders' Wisdom: The Heart of the Trip

The highlight of the day was the presence of Linda Minoose, a respected elder from the CLFN community. With humor and candor, she shared the history of the Dene people, their connection to the land and water, and the challenges faced during the loss of land access in the 1950s.

Hands-On Learning: Traditional Practices and Environmental Stewardship

Students gained firsthand experience in traditional fishing techniques, learning how to harvest and fillet walleye, pike, and whitefish. This practical learning session provided insights into the cultural significance and skills of the CLFN community.

Furthermore, the day included an educational segment on water health and quality, led by the CLFN Lands and Resources staff. Students were introduced to both post-secondary and traditional knowledge approaches to monitoring the health of Primrose Lake and its watershed.

Acknowledgments: A Community Effort

This enriching experience would not have been possible without the collective efforts of many. Special thanks are extended to:

  • Savannah Dumont and Nathan Carrier: For their dedication and logistical planning, ensuring the trip's success.
  • Browne Courtorielle and his team: For securing access to CLAWR and orchestrating the day's events.
  • Linda Minoose: For sharing her invaluable knowledge and stories, adding depth to the students' learning experience.
  • DND staff for welcoming us onto the range and sharing their facilities

The CLHS staff, Mr. Eagles and Mr.Timm, also deserve recognition for their commitment to providing students with meaningful, hands-on activities that enhance learning.

The success of this trip further strengthens our already positive partnership with the Cold Lake First Nations, reinforcing our commitment to enrich student education through real-world experiences and cultural exchange. This endeavor highlights the dynamic and growing relationship between our school and CLFN, promising even more collaborative opportunities in the future.