Calgary

'It makes us who we are': Stoney Nakoda youth get chance to connect with their culture

At the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, some teenagers are getting a lesson from elder Jackie Rider as she peels the bark off a freshly-cut tree at a home.

Month-long day camp seeks to empower attendees by teaching skills, identity

Stoney youth head back to the land for a lesson in identity

1 year ago
Duration 2:17
Youth are immersing themselves in traditional practices like building smokehouses, hunting and archery at a day camp run by the Stoney Nakoda First Nation.

At the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, some teenagers are getting a lesson from elder Jackie Rider as she peels the bark off a freshly-cut tree at a home.

"If you do it proper, that means your lifeline is counting on it, eh?" Rider says.

The group is building a traditional smokehouse for drying meat, just one of the activities being taught at this day camp for youth between the ages of 12 and 24.

The camp is a program offered through the Stoney Nakoda youth outreach program.

Other activities include fishing and archery, skills that Rider said all young Indigenous people should have.

"I always tell my grandchildren, come on, and my boys, my kids, come on. One day, we're going to go back to this," Rider said.

Gabriel Young, the youth program co-ordinator, said the camp is just one piece of the program, which runs all year.

"All these teachings that get passed down, it all leads to wellness," Young said. "Like mental wellness and to embrace identity. It makes us who we are as Stoney people."

Young said he hopes the youth at the camp feel empowered with every lesson learned. 

With files from Terri Trembath.

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