One Focus on Youth Camp is educating campers on Canadian history as it explores the country's Indigenous roots. The Indigenous Arts, Sports, and Culture camp offers a unique range of crafts, sports, storytelling, dancing and singing activities for students in grades 1 to 8.
On July 26 Focus on Youth campers were treated to a special cooking day where they had an opportunity to get a taste of Indigenous culture.
Organized by Site Supervisor Dee Channer, students helped make Bannock, a type of bread that's eaten in nearly every Indigenous Nation across North America.
Made of simple ingredients like flour, baking powder, water and salt, Channer explained how Bannock, also called Frybread, can be eaten either savory or sweet depending on what toppings are added to it.
"Food is a big part of Indigenous culture," said Channer who noted that Bannock is an especially important staple for travelers and hunters as it's easy to make and a good source of carbohydrates.
Earlier in the week campers learned about the Grandfather Teachings, which use animals to teach and honour seven sacred virtues, like the wolf for humility and the turtle for truth. To help students better grasp these concepts, Channer made cross cultural and religious connections.
"A lot of students connected the Grandfather Teachings to our Catholic teachings."
It's important for youth to explore Indigenous traditions because it's a big part of Canadian culture as a whole, she said.
"It's our history, regardless of whether you're of Indigenous background or not."
The camp aligns with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board's Improvement Plan, which aims to create an inclusive environment by celebrating and promoting diversity, especially of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit backgrounds.
"Focus on Youth has provided another unique opportunity to increase student awareness of Indigenous peoples, while celebrating a selection of cultural histories and traditions," said Focus on Youth Manager Andrew Peters.
"We are excited for the opportunity to have planned and shared a carefully selected and special combination of activities that promote pride, understanding, and awareness of Indigenous cultures and traditions, while creatively encouraging and realizing meaningful connections across cultures."