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Preparing pemmican is helping people recover from addiction and keeping traditions alive.
Siksika Supports for Independence picked 14 students for a new ‘Future Elders in the Making’ program.
Connecting students with their culture is meant to help them heal.
“We have facilitators coming in talking about past traumas, residential schools, addictions,” said Crystal Wolf Leg, social worker with Siksika Supports for Independence.
The program includes a traditional cooking class at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park.
“Most of our elders are gone, the ones that were teaching us, that taught my mom, and my mom taught me. I want to keep that going,” said Sandra Broad Scalplock, one of the chefs at Blackfoot Crossing who is teaching the class.
Students used stones to mash dry meat and mix in Saskatoon berries and fat to make pemmican. They also cooked bannock and prepared berry soup.
Getting a hands-on opportunity to preserve their heritage is restoring students’ independence and confidence.
Weaving ties to the community is expected to benefit future generations as well.
“I can teach someone, in turn they can teach another and so on and so on and so on, right down to their little ones,” said student Jonathan Many Bears.
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