Indigenous students attend summit to strengthen community resilience

Ever Active Schools (EAS) is a provincial initiative that supports healthy school communities. Their Resilient Schools initiative works in Treaty 6, 7 and 8 and partners directly with First Nations and Métis school communities to promote language, culture and resilience as pathways to wellbeing for Indigenous youth.

 

 

More than 300 students, teachers, community members and Elders from First Nations and Métis communities across Alberta gathered at Winsport in Calgary recently for a summit on health, wellness and resilience.

The two day event began with a host of active icebreaker activities that saw students interacting with new faces right off the bat.

Keynote speaker, 18-year-old Izaiah Swampy-Omeasoo, an aspiring politician of Samson Cree Nation, spoke to students about the importance of language in revitalizing culture.

“It’s like losing a library,” said Swampy-Omeasoo of the deaths of Elders. He reminded the crowd that their ancestors never spoke English, and in order to communicate through prayer and after passing on, they must learn their Indigenous languages.

Students attended art, physical activity and knowledge sharing sessions, from resilience through poetry, to outdoor traditional Dene and Blackfoot games, to Elder circles.

They had the opportunity to participate in ‘wellness breaks’, where they tried wheelchair basketball with Wheelchair Sports Alberta, ice luge with Winsport, a tour of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame, badminton, boxing, or skating with players from the Calgary Hitmen.

On Wednesday evening, participants gathered for an open mic night that showcased students talents. Performers sang and danced for their peers.

Following that, students dove straight back into sessions, regrouping to present posters showcasing their school's initiatives that support health, wellness, resilience and culture with other school teams in the room.

See more photos from the event here

 

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