Why It’s Important

We Need On the Land Learning in NWT Schools

Bushkids was founded with the intention of driving change so that on-the-Land learning would become accessible to everyone. We believe the opportunity to learn on the Land is essential to everyday life – not an add-on and certainly not a privilege. People in the NWT have been learning on and from the Land since time immemorial – it is ultimately what makes us peoples of this place. The Land is the foundation for our cultures, languages, and knowledge systems.

The Bushkids Program began as a training ground and demonstration site – a place to experiment and learn best practices and models. While we appreciate the positive impact our program has made on the children who have attended, private programming is simply not accessible to everyone. If there is going to be robust on-the-Land learning in the NWT, we believe it must be embedded into the community where children are learning – it must be embedded into public schools and with families.

That is why our focus is on working with decision-makers to support self-determined models of on the Land learning in the NWT. This means putting resources towards increased community capacity so that communities can develop their own initiatives. We want to share a vision of the future where experiential, place-based learning is supported in schools all across the territory, integrated as a regular and routine part of their curriculum. This, as opposed to a bigger private program, is where we are putting our energy and resources.

For further learning about our vision, please read this paper by Bushkids co-founder Chloe Dragon Smith entitled “Creating Ethical Spaces: Opportunities to Connect with Land for Life and Learning in the NWT”.

If you see the value of an on-the-Land model of learning and would like to see it accessible to every child in the NWT, visit our How You Can Help page or click on the button below.