I recently travelled to the Northwest Territories to check in with the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC) Wild Foods Programs currently running in Fort Providence and Fort Resolution.
In Fort Providence, a small community located on the Mackenzie River, it has been a busy spring as community members and youth from the school have been out on the land collecting and processing resources for the school’s Wild Foods Programs.
They have been processing fish, ducks and geese over the last few weeks. A University of Ottawa undergraduate student (Meagan O’Hare) has also been contributing to the program. She has been out learning from the elders and participating with community members on a daily basis at the school’s local camp. Lois Philipp (local principal), who is integrally involved with the programs, commented that the school is getting good use of their newly purchased dehydrator as community members have been preserving wild meats and fish to be consumed by the students later in the school year. Another University of Ottawa undergraduate student (Rebecca Brodmann) is also volunteering in Fort Providence. She has been helping develop maternal health workshops that focus on nutrition education and wild foods cooking classes. Working with community members and staff from the local Head-Start-Program, she has been sharing and learning a lot about health in a localized context.
I also had the opportunity to visit Fort Resolution, a very small community towards the southeastern arm of Great Slave Lake. The ice was just going out and community members were beginning to get ready for the approaching fishing and hunting season. I met with Dan Summers (school principal) who informed me on the progress of their Wild Foods Programs that ran this past winter. Dan was excited to show me the new equipment they had purchased and the smoke house that youth from the high school have built under the guidance of a few community members. From the students’ trips out on the ice this winter, the school had stockpiled frozen fish (mostly Whitefish, Pickerel and Lake Trout) to be smoked and used in the school’s Wild Foods Snack Programs. Ted Moose (teacher) and Kate Powell (new principal) look forward to building on the current momentum to expand the programs that are set to begin again in late fall 2013.
The IHRG looks forward to hearing more about these exciting new programs that are being facilitated by local community members and students.