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School to offer culturally-rich program again this year

Combining learning, culture and community with the goal of increased health and safety in life is what the Canoe Journeys Program is offering grade 8 to 10 students at Queen Charlotte Secondary School this year."It is community-based learning for students," said Peggy Clarkson, mental health team leader for the Skidegate Health Centre. "We bring elders and local Haida role models into the school and they cover modules with the students that earn them elective credits."The program, a joint project between the Skidegate Health Centre and the school district, is designed to increase cultural connections youth have in their community. "Many indigenous kids have the experience of leaving their culture at the door, we want to bring it in," said Ms Clarkson. "Research has shown that the stronger the cultural connections and the more local resources used or owned by local first nations, the healthier the youth."The course was successfully introduced at Queen Charlotte Secondary last year and 16 students completed the modules, including activities such as making paddles, and drums, and setting personal goals such as quitting smoking. This year the coordinators hope to offer weaving, will build a carving shed and will continue to offer traditional foods in class.

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