This fall there is a chance to get in on free Cree cultural courses in Maskwacis. The new offering is open to the public and includes a variety of courses including Cree language, sewing and more. File photo

Ermineskin offering free Cree classes to the public

Ponoka residents can get in on some cultural learning in Maskwacis

This fall there is a chance to get in on free Cree cultural courses in Maskwacis.

The Neyaskweyahk Cree Department is offering a free course selection that brings the Cree language, arts and culture to those interested in taking part. Classes started Sept. 26 but there’s still a chance to sign up as they continue until Dec. 19.

The inspiration for the courses came from a 2004 Wellness plan, explained Patti Johnson, from Miyo Wahkohtowin Education on the Ermineskin Cree Nation where the classes are hosted. “The goal is to sustain and revitalize the language and culture and provide language and cultural services to the community and surrounding areas.”

“It is important to teach the learner the connection we have with ‘Mother Earth’ and the ways in which we do this,” explained Johnson.

Along with beginner Cree, there’s syllabics, beginners youths and adults as well as Cree arts as well as sewing. On top of those classes are what’s called Adventure Saturdays with dates set for Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2.

These Saturday classes are designed to understand land-based Cree values and natural law, which include activities such as Protocol, sage and sweetgrass picking, ice fishing and overnight camping trips.

“Adventure Saturdays are opportunities for learners to experience cultural practices in a fun way,” said Johnson.

“During these sessions, students have the opportunity to experience land-based survival skills. The hope is that students connect to the land and identify how it can be used while attaining language skills associated with the land, culture and Nehiyaw practices.”

For more information call 780-585-2879.

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