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Liza Piper, left, and Adam Gaudry, University of Alberta assistant professors and Elaine Alexie, Univeristy of Alberta faculty of Studies knowledge partnership and community engagement officer, Tetł’it Gwich’in Council Wanda Pascal, and Molly Swain, a University of Alberta graduate student, are developing a land-based research camp. (University of Alberta) The University of Alberta is partnering with the Tetlit Gwich’in of Fort McPherson to create a new land-based learning bush camp.

$100,000 in funding over three years has been granted by the university through the Kule Institute for Advanced Study to bring the long-held dream of a community land camp to life.

In the past few days, a team of researchers from the University of Alberta, led by Elaine Alexie, who is from Fort McPherson, have been holding meetings in the community to talk to people about the bush camp.

"Over the course of the year, I’ve had many conversations with folks from the community. And they’ve expressed a need for building this type of program. We didn’t just come up with this idea," said Alexie.

The three-year project started back in April when Alexie reached out to Tetlit Gwich’in Chief Wanda Pascal, who was eager to help.

"We were talking about getting in on the land camp for years. And we thought maybe this is a good opportunity for the community to have a land based research camp," said Chief Pascal.

The research team is helping to develop the bush camp alongside elders. With decolonial studies and pedogogy in mind, its curriculum aims to blend critical scholarship and Gwich’in history and governance.

"The goal is to develop these land-based resources and using elders in transmitting knowledge," said Alexie.Those involved in the project hope it will become a model for other communities to follow. They will document its progress each step of the way […]

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