Young immigrants break bannock with Dene elders in Yellowknife

Students who immigrated to Yellowknife in the past three years had the chance to spend an afternoon with elders to learn more about the culture of their new community.

Program helps youth with settlement in Canada

Greg Afane, 11, from Canada and Yuham Wu, 11, from China try out a different way to play stick pull. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

Students new to Yellowknife gathered in the backyard of the Baker Community Centre to make bannock and taste traditional foods like caribou stew and smoked fish on Thursday afternoon.

They were there to learn with elders from Avens — A Community for Seniors as part of a program to acquaint young immigrants new to the North with Dene culture.

"For the students, it's important to feel welcome in their community and feel involved in their community," said Annik Theberge, a co-ordinator at Settlement Workers in Schools. 

Theberge helps newly immigrated students and their families engage in their new communities. 

Carol Norwegian, the recreation co-ordinator for Avens, gives a presentation on items Dene frequently use on the land, such as hides, furs, tin cups and a teapot. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

The students also listened to elders tell stories of their experience growing up in the North on the land.

Ashton John Uy, 8, is originally from the Philippines. He’s feeling one of the hides on display while checking out all of the different furs and hides from hunting and trapping. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

Avens resident, Barbara, is from Aklavik. She's catching some shade while sitting in a traditional Fort McPherson tent set up for the afternoon. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

Nineteen students chose to participate in the Dene cultural celebration. 

Audrey Jensen Uy, 8, moved to Yellowknife from the Philippines. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

Avens resident Ernestine challenges Eian Franchesco Verastigue,12, to a round of stick pull. She won. (Kaila Jefferd-Moore)

Sayek Dirghangi immigrated from India to Canada last April.

"I learned a lot of new things about the Dene culture," he said. "And about Yellowknife too. About Yellowknife's history … I feel more into the community of Yellowknife, like as a member of the community and it feels great."

Sayek Dirghangi is attending the University of Alberta this fall to study environment and conservation. He said he wants to come back to Yellowknife when he graduates. (CBC News)


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