NPSS Senior Alternate Connect Communities through Gardens

The North Peace Secondary School Senior Alternate class this year has worked to create positive social change projects. On June 12, 2019 they opened the new Peace Garden, Chege Waso Anehsheh, and Healing Gardens, Che’adliih Anehsheh. The following student contributions are from the opening ceremony speech and article describing the project.

“Hello my name is Connal. I’m from the Senior Alternate program. This year my Personal and Social Development teacher had our class get involved in social change projects that help improve our community. My partner and I decided to grow an orchard on our school grounds. Our hope was to produce fruit that would help to feed people in our school and in the larger community. Our original idea was to have a patch of fruit trees but over time it grew into something much larger and much more meaningful. Now we have a group of people creating and growing three garden boxes as a tribute to First Nations culture, alongside our fruit orchard. We will have traditional healing plants such as sage, yarrow, wolf willow, and high bush cranberries. We have apple trees, cherry trees, berry bushes, and hazelnuts. Our hope is that the community will be able to enjoy the food and medicine grown, for years and years to come. All of this is made possible by Tree Canada and Pembina Pipelines for the grant to purchase trees to start our project and our local First Nations, Halfway River First Nation, Doig River First Nation, Blueberry River First Nation, Saulteau First Nation and the Treaty Eight Tribal Association who have provided funding and guidance for our healing gardens. Thank you to all of our community sponsors for giving us the funding needed and to all the hardworking students involved in the project.”

Connal Cameron – NPSS Student

Students from North Peace Secondary School who are involved in the Senior Alternate Program and in the Learning Through The Elders class are working to build Indigenous healing gardens. The gardens that they are building will teach future students about the Indigenous plants, what they are used for and how to properly harvest them for use.

They have been working with First Nation communities around Fort St. John to figure out the language, translations and the plants that are being planted. It has been difficult for the students in the language translation because certain English words don’t have a spot in the Beaver language. Montana Davis-Green has contacted elders from her community to learn if specific words can be translated and then how to spell it and which order it should be in. Rather than putting in a book, Elders from the community take young ones out to the bush and explain what kind of plant that is and what it does for you. So getting actual translations for plants makes it difficult because there are no written words for some of them.

The students have been working with Billy Attachie and the elders out in Doig River to get the proper Beaver spelling and pronunciation for the orchard and healing garden signs. The Peace Garden will be Chege Waso Anehsheh and the healing gardens will be Che’adliih Anehsheh. The opening ceremony was held on June 12, 2019.

More plants will be added to the healing gardens in the fall. These gardens will not be a temporary thing and will be used for many years to come. The garden will be there when students enter NPSS in the near future. The students will continue working with elders for the proper wording and will be adding more plants and signs in September.

Montana Davis-Green – NPSS Student