Education and Community Building

Mkwa Doodem Indigenous Studies Program

The Indigenous Studies Program is an educational initiative led by the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board in collaboration with Indigenous communities in the local territory.

The program aims to provide Indigenous students with opportunities to explore their culture and language while fostering understanding and respect for the land and Indigenous worldviews.

Through the four-season project called Mkwa Doodem (Bear Clan), 20 Indigenous students from 6 First Nations communities engage in activities such as Indigenous language classes, traditional arts and crafts, and land-based education. The community of Garden Village within the St. Joseph-Scollard Hall provides a perfect value for the program, with access to communal facilities for ceremonies and learning activities.

Supporting Cultural Education of Indigenous Youth

With the support of the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund, the Indigenous Studies Program has been able to offer honoraria for Elders, knowledge keepers and other cultural resource personnel. Crafting supplies and other traditional resources were also made available for language classes, traditional arts and crafts and land-based education activities. 

By promoting healing, reconciliation, and education within the community, the Indigenous Studies Program addresses a vital need for cultural revitalization, language preservation, and land-based education among Indigenous students.

Opportunities for Indigenous students to reconnect with their heritage and share their journey with non-Indigenous students, creates a space for understanding, respect, and reconciliation. 

The hands-on learning experiences within this program contribute to the ongoing process of healing and reconciliation within the community.

Learning from Elder George Couchie

Bringing together 20 Indigenous students from Nipissing First Nation, Bear Island First Nation, Timiskaming First Nation, Moose Cree First Nation, Attawapiskat First Nation, and Fort Albany First Nation, youth are given the opportunity to learn from Elder George Couchie. Acclaimed author of the book, Raised on an Eagle Feather, George is a recipient of numerous awards and citations for his commitment to educating youth and adults on topics of Reconciliation, culture, and honoring the relationship Indigenous people have with the land.

Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie