Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre, together with Hammarskjold High School (Lakehead District School Board) offer the opportunity for Indigenous youth to receive a gentle transition into the mainstream high school setting.
The specialized land-based Alternative Secondary School Program called Kendomang Zhagodenamnon Lodge, also known as KZ Lodge, offers support to students, and includes educational programming related to Indigenous land-based learning and life skill building. The program fosters critical thinking, Indigenous culture, and technology skills, all while encompassing real-world connections and career plans.
Students work towards earning some of their secondary school credits needed for graduation: English, Green Tech, History, Math, Science, Art, Civics & Careers, Geography, Physical Education, etc.
The Benefits to Land-Based Learning
The KZ lodge alternative program aims to have class students engage in memorable, and meaningful land-based learning experiences that encompass Indigenous perspectives, values and practices. The program also involves pairing students with local elders, community partners, and other Thunder Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre staff to co-deliver curriculum in an outdoor setting, and in unique ways that help honour Indigenous values and ways of learning.
The program also looks to connect students to the local environment through hands-on projects and real-world experiential learning activities.
Some examples of specialized programming includes:
- traditional hide tanning activities
- canoe instruction and certification
- wild rice workshops
- hunter safety training
- dog sledding
- school-community partnerships with (MNRF)
- Elder teachings on drum making
- forest fire training
- open fire cooking lessons
- chainsaw safety training
- making birch bark baskets
- Gardening and horticultural activities with Roots to Harvest Organization
- Elder talks
- sharing circles
- construction & welding activities, and exposure to the skilled trades
Activities also include working together to problem solve (e.g., figuring out how to traditionally tan a deer hide or beaver, make moccasins from moose hide, setting up a prospector tent in winter, lodge building, making a traditional meal from plants harvested in the school gardens, etc.).
The KZ Classroom