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Constance Lake students earn credits while learning trapping from Elders

Thursday February 14, 2013
photo submitted by Patrik Lowen
from left Chief Roger Wesley, Gavin Wesley, Shane Wesley,Gabriel John-George, Dalton Baxter, Corey Stephens, Sonny Sutherland, Ken Neegan, Brandon Taylor. The students are learning traditional bush skills and earning high school credits for their efforts.

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.

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I applaud this approach

I applaud this approach coinciding with education. Just like the language, if you don,t use it you will forget. It would be a shame if this traddition (trapping) also fell by the wayside. I am from that generation where during the spring, xmas
holdiays etc, we went out trapping, in my case, with my Grandfather. I now appreciate what the elders taught me.

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