Youth from across Canada and as far north as Nunavut spent last week in Saskatchewan learning about science with an Indigenous twist.

More than 40 youth aged 12-15 attended the First Nations and Inuit National Science Camp, hosted this year by the First Nations University of Canada.

Heather O'Watch, a project assistant for the camp and a summer student at the university, said because participating youth are in their early high school years, the camp is aimed at showing off a range of science careers and post-secondary education options they can work toward.  

It also provides a space for students from many different Indigenous cultures to meet and learn about each other.

"It's a really great opportunity to see these young students being able to learn about some of the teachings we have to offer here ... and also an opportunity to share what they already know," she said.

Murray Ironchild

Elder Murray Ironchild from Piapot First Nation taught camp participants in the medicine room at White Raven Healing Lodge in Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask. (Brad Bellegarde/CBC)

The students' week was split between Regina and Saskatoon, and included stops at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, the eco-village in Craik, Sask., and the University of Saskatchewan's colleges of biology and agriculture. 

Activities included dissecting wood ticks and owl pellets, and making biofuel in a lab at the University of Regina.

There was also a visit to White Raven Healing Lodge in the All Nations' Healing Hospital in Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., where students learned about traditional medicines and the medicinal properties of plants found in Saskatchewan. Elder Murray Ironchild took the students into the medicine room and explained how the medicines are used for patients in the hospital.

The national science camp is held annually.


With files from Brad Bellegarde