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Students to Embark on Cultural Heritage Journey 

With the early summer sun as their guide, 10 students from Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) will journey to Chain Lakes Provincial Park for a hands-on lesson in cultural heritage and environmental stewardship. This inaugural trip, slated for June 3rd, will introduce participants to the traditional art of gathering smudging materials, fostering a deep connection with the land and indigenous practices.

Guided by CRPS’ Knowledgeable Keepers, the students will learn the traditional practices of gathering Cedar and Alpine Balsam (Sweet Pine). These materials are revered in many Indigenous cultures for their use in smudging, a ritual that cleanses a space of negative energies. Joining the Knowledge Keepers will be CRPS’ Indigenous Services and Outdoor Learning Centre Coordinators and high school and success teachers, ensuring a supportive and educational experience for all participants.

The trip aims to deepen students’ understanding of indigenous practices and strengthen their connection to nature. It also serves as a hands-on educational experience where students not only gather but later learn to prepare and use these materials for smudging ceremonies at their schools. This initiative reflects the Division’s commitment to integrating cultural education and fostering respect for indigenous traditions among its students.

As this pilot trip to Chain Lakes unfolds, it will pave the way for future excursions and learning opportunities, embedding these important cultural practices into the fabric of the community’s educational experiences. Through such immersive activities, CRPS hopes to inspire a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, indigenous cultures and their profound connection to the natural world.