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Yellowknife Education District No. 1 hosts hide camp

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) was busy this week hosting a community hide camp for students and the community at Mildred Hall School. The final day was yesterday.
Essential tools were provided at different stages during the camp. Kaicheng Xin/NNSL photo

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) was busy this past week hosting a community hide camp for students and the community at Mildred Hall School. The final day was Thursday.

Andrea Harding, the regional Indigenous language and education co-ordinator for YK1, said that the purpose of the camp was to provide an opportunity for students to learn alongside Elders how to prepare hides.

“All of our Grade 6 classes from across the district are circulating through our camp during the day,” said Harding.

The camp featured three moose hides and three caribou hides at various stages of preparation.

In addition to hide preparation, the camp also had a station for bannock on a stick, a language station, and a story walk.

Harding said that the camp was also a great opportunity for the community to strengthen partnerships with schools and learn from community members.

“In the evenings, we are open to the community for people to come and participate in the activities as well,” she said. “Students can bring their families back, and you don’t have to be a YK1 family — it’s open to anybody.”

For transportation for the students during the day time, Harding said that YK1 chartered buses to take students to and from the school.

Similar events such as this have happened in the past, but the scale was not as big as this year, Harding said.

“In the past, we’ve had schools do their own individual hide camps, where they might have had one moose hide or maybe a couple caribou hides where they would do their own thing for a week, but it wasn’t open to the community and it wasn’t on this large of a scale like we have (this time),” she said.

It is also a part of YK1’s commitment to reconciliation to provide these opportunities not just for families in the district, but for the whole community.

“We’ve had some people come here from the community who are not Elders or leaders,” said Harding. “They’ve been able to share some knowledge that they have about the hides, and reciprocally been able to learn from us. I think it’s really important to provide these opportunities for everybody and to provide those opportunities for the community to be a part of the things that we’re doing in school and working together.”

The city chipped in with a $7,500 grant to support the event.

Kerry Thistle, the city’s director of economic development and strategy, said the city’s updated Reconciliation Action Plan included working with the YK to support public access to the hide tanning camp in the evenings.

Other sponsors such United Way NWT, NWT Literacy Council, Rochdi’s Your Independent Grocer, Aurora College and College Nordique Francophone had also helped out by providing funding or refreshments.

About the Author: Kaicheng Xin

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