Putting the ‘win’ in land-based education with Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win  

A project at the University of Manitoba is empowering Indigenous children to get more involved in land-based learning.

The Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win program shows them how to test their own drinking water and other skills to help protect their community’s resources.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking when you go to communities that are impacted by hydro (development), or their impacted by all sorts of other resource extractions like mining,” said instructor Ashley Wolfe.

“And you see the effect that’s happening in their communities and you see these kids that want to do something, but they don’t know where to start.”

Wolfe, whose family comes from Peguis First Nation north of Winnipeg, is finishing her degree in Indigenous Studies.

Land-based education 

Also she’s the acting co-ordinator for the land-based education program that puts the needs of vulnlerable communities first.

“When communities are going out and doing their own work because corporations don’t want to go and do it…They have to take it into their own hands,” she said in an interview.

“So that’s how I can start getting involved and that way kids and communities can actually start doing the data themselves.”

Kis Kin Ha Ma Ki Win works with pre-university aged students.

“Through decolonizing education, we’re able to get land-based learning and get kids out into the bush, get them out actually doing cultural teachings and incorporating science teachings along with it too,” said Wolfe. “That way, our Indigenous youth can see…you don’t have to be a scientist to test your water. You don’t need to have to have a degree to be able to see if your water’s healthy.

“It’s something that we’re trying to make relatable for Indigenous youth so that way we have more representation in the science programs so that way we can bring that to community.”

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