Balcarres Students Create Magazine to Share Community Knowledge

Balcarres students are making sure stories and knowledge from their communities are preserved through a class project resulting in a published magazine.

Students in the PAA class and school community members gathered at Balcarres Community School on Friday, March 8 for the launch of the magazine entitled, Ôtāhcimōwiniwāwa Kākistāwētinīki Ōtēsi Nīkan (Their Stories That Echo Into The Future).

The class project involved students interviewing Keteyak and Knowledge Carriers from their communities, and then creating stories based on those interviews for the magazine. 

“It’s really meaningful to do something like this, especially when the people you interview are from your own community,” said Grade 12 student Cainan Reyes.

For one of his magazine articles, Reyes interviewed his grandfather who worked to bring Indigenous culture and traditions to jails and penitentiaries. “He helped them [Indigenous inmates] get on their journey to find out who they are,” said Reyes.

Grade 12 student Dominic Mckay interviewed Okanese First Nation Chief Richard Stonechild for one of his articles. “He talked about how taking away the children, the language, the culture and the buffalo were the keys to controlling people and making them believe in a different way of life,” said Mckay.

Grade 12 student Janessa Koochicum interviewed her grandmother about the File Hills Colony Experiment, a little-known historical event that caused Indigenous families to become detached from their homelands. “Hearing what my kokum had to say and the knowledge that she has just amazes me … Many families on Peepeekisis don’t really farm anymore and I believe that is because people want to forget about that part of our history,” wrote Koochicum.

The students agreed the magazine is important because it creates a permanent record of this local knowledge and experience. “It’s something you can pass along and look to the magazine to remember the stories and all the knowledge that was passed to us,” said Mckay.

“It’s important to make sure nobody forgets and repeats things that have happened in the past,” said Reyes.

The magazine is available for purchase at Balcarres Community School. You can reach out to the school for more information at [email protected], or (306)334-2520.