Kayas Cultural College Birch Bark Teachings

The Cause

Kayas Cultural College will facilitate Birch Sap Teachings for each of the three communities of the Little Red River Cree Nation. Birch Sap Teachings include important traditional knowledge and skills that many Nation members are missing, particularly in the younger generations. Program facilitators will work with local Knowledge keepers to take groups of individuals out on the land for day trips to learn how to locate birch trees, what tools are needed to collect sap, and the different ways to tap birch trees while preventing damage to the birch trees. Participants will also learn how to make syrup and different uses for birch tree sap. Throughout the process Elders and Knowledge Keepers will share stories and guidance, strengthening the ties of the communities and helping to preserve essential knowledge for future generations.

Kayas Cultural College is an on-reserve adult learning, trades, and cultural institution serving the people of the Little Red River Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. Our Cultural Program is dedicated to building the strength of our communities by bringing people closer to the language and cultural traditions that hold our Nation together and give us strength and power. We know that rooting our programming in culture and community will strengthen the mental health and community ties of participants and empower them to continue learning and growing. Teaching Woodland Cree Language and Culture will also preserve essential knowledge for future generations.

Who Will it Benefit?

This project will benefit members of the Little Red River Cree Nation. LRRCN is composed of three Woodland Cree communities: Fox Lake, John D’Or Prairie, and Garden River. The communities are remote, hours from a paved road. Fox Lake, the largest community, is only accessible by ice road in the winter and barge in the summer.

Participants of the birch sap teachings will learn in groups of 10 and the teachings will take place in all three communities. The Teachings will be recorded and shared publicly, and participants will be empowered with knowledge to share with their families and other community members. The Teachings may also be incorporated into future learning opportunities at the college.