A day during the winter camps is full of learning Cree, enjoying the outdoors, driving sled dogs, cooking over an open fire and visiting.
kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa Cree Academy of Excellence (Immersion School)
Declaration for kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa Cree Immersion School
kisê-manitow kâkî-sawêyimikoyahk ôma nêhiyawêwin.
Acknowledging that our Cree language is a gift by the Creator.
kinanistawinênânaw ôma kinêhiyawêwininaw ka-âhkamêmototamahk
Recognizing that our Cree language is important in transmitting and enriching our culture – our history, ways of being – ways of coming to knowledge.
kikiskihtêyinanâw mîna ka-manâ-wanihtâyahk ôma.
Realizing that language loss threatens our survival as iyiniwak.
âsay wîya misiwê-pihtâkwan ôma môniyâwêwin mâka poko kâ-mâmawi-kamahtohk ôma kinêhiyawêwininaw
Acknowledging that English is so pervasive and maintaining our Cree language into the future in the face of this requires determination by the whole community.
kinanistawinênânaw ôma kinêhiyaw-ohpikinawâwasôwin ê-miywâsik êkwa ôtê nîkân ka-wîhcîkocik ôki kitawâsisiminawak
Recognizing that our identity as nehiyawak is inherently connected to our Cree language and that maintaining this is crucial to our children’s well-being, success and survival.
nêhiyawêwin ôma ka-astamastêw ôta ôma kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa kiskinwahamâkêwikamik.
We, the people of our traditional territories, therefore state that our Cree language is hereby declared the official language of kâ-nêyâsihk mîkiwâhpa Cree Immersion School.
The camps are still in high demand because of the benefits of connecting to fresh air, land and water. It was such a success that we needed to have a school that gave our students education throughout the entire year. The school has been a dream of our staff and community for over two decades. It takes a lot of planning and prayer. The school is hovering at 25 students that have committed to learning around the months and seasons of an entire year.
The Staff and administration are amazing! Without their vision and hard work, the dream of this type of school would be still a dream. Come and visit. pê-kîwêk!
Mrs. Matilda Lewis recently graduated from the Indigenous Languages Certificate Program through the University of Saskatchewan. Mrs. Lewis holds a Bachelors of Education as well as Master’s Degree in Education. She has taught over 30 years at all levels and was a part of the Cree Immersion Program of Island Lake School. She continues to promote Indigenous languages and has extensive research and experience in community development and is a strong advocate of teaching languages at home and at work. She has also played a foundational role in the development of kâniyâsihk Culture Camps as an instructor, Cook, and kohkom.
Patricia Alexander is from Makwa Sahgaiehacan First Nation, SK where she and her family continue to reside. After Patricia completed her Grade 12 in 1999, she went onto take an Early Childhood Education Program in Buffalo Narrows. She graduated with a Diploma in 2002, than moved back home to work for her community as an Early Childhood Interventionist for four years. She then went on to further her education and took her Bachelor of Education and graduated in 2014 at University of Saskatchewan (UofS). Patricia than went back to her community to help and teach middle years for three years and one year in elementary. During her teaching career she completed a Certificate in Indigenous Languages at the UofS. Patricia has a passion for horses, enjoys playing hockey, fastball, curling, golfing and beading and other sports craft events, and loves the outdoor nature, and visiting with her family and friends. Patricia is also a fluent Cree speaker and is a strong advocate for the language.
Yengari McDonald Littlespruce is from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Her family are from Harvey Bay, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Toobeah (Badtjala, Gabi Gabi and Gamileroi), & Kurrajong (Dharug) and Richmond areas of both Queensland and New South Wales. She was a student at the Oodgeroo Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Unit, Queensland University of Technology, where she completed her Bachelor of Education, with a specialization in Aboriginal Studies and Special Education. Then Yengari went on to complete a fashion studies course at TAFE, Queensland. She has worked with Indigenous communities in both Australia and Canada, both as a teacher and on program implementation and management. This has involved ongoing community involvement. Yengari is currently working on her masters. Her interests are varied from reading, writing, travelling, hiking, studying nature, to fashion design. She is also working on continuing her studies.
Instructor/Resource Development Unit Lead
Steve Andreas was born into a large farming family near Leader, SK. He has lived and worked amongst nehiyawak (Cree Peoples) for many years. He is grateful to kêhtê-ayak (Cree Elders) who kindly welcomed him into the Cree world through the Sacred ceremonies. The kêhtê-ayak helped him to learn to speak nêhiyawêwin (Cree Language) as an Adult second language learner. He also writes and reads Cree in Syllabics and SRO. His passion is to pass on to others what he has been taught and help people to see the genius of Creator’s gift of Cree language and culture. Steve’s expertise is Cree Morphology & Grammar, second language acquisition methodologies, helping ECD programs learning through play, working with the Master Speakers (kêhtê-ayak), Cree First Nations’ Cree language revitalization, Cree documentation video/audio. He has team-taught & team-developed courses at a post-secondary level as well as facilitated workshops with Cree First Nations in Treaty No. 6 territory (SK & AB). His professional designations include: Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy B.S.P. (with Distinction), Bachelor of Theology B.TH. (with Distinction). Steve enjoys listening to peoples’ life experiences as well as sharing what he has learned along the way. He likes to cross country ski, cycling, outdoor activities including canoeing and horses. He has a passion for food sovereignty and given his farm background he likes to grow his own food. Steve has experience with clean renewable solar energy and electric vehicles.
Educational Assistants -Camp helpers
Lorraine Jack is a Mitsuing from Makwa Sahgaiehcan Cree Nation. She was born and raised and continues to reside in her home community. Lorraine has extensive experience as an educational assistant and early interventionist. Lorraine has obtained her Educational Assistant Certificate and Community Services Addictions Diploma. Lorraine is very fluent in her Cree language. She is interested in and works on interior design, renovations, and upholstery. She is known for her dedication and outstanding work ethic.
Ermilyne Mitsuing is from the Makwa Sahgaiehcan Cree Nation, SK. She has a family of six with her husband Michael Kiseyinewakup. Her area of specialty is in education as she has received her Educational Assistant Certificate in the year of 2014. She then went on to pursue her Community Addictions Certificate and Diploma in 2015-2016. Ermilyne has an avid interest in playing sports in her free time, as well as visiting family and friends. She is fluent in the language as she understands and can speak very well. She is happy to be working at the Cree Immersion School as working with children is her passion and being in the environment increases her learning ability to be immersed in the language.
Clifford Stick - Land Based Program Coordinator
Clifford Stick is also from onohcipânânihk and also an active participant in ceremonies. He worked for Saskatchewan Environmental Resource Management (SERM) in the Fire Suppression Field and knows the land from their provincial developmental programming. Mr. Stick is knowledgeable in hands on activates and grew up learning from local Elders. Clifford has been an instructor for kâniyâsihk Culture Camps since its beginning. He is a certified Hiking Instructor for Outdoor Council of Canada.
Gerald Waterhen is the son of Elizabeth and Abraham. He has lived in his home community of Ministikwan Cree Nation most of his life. He has sung traditionally and played the drum since he was a child. At the age of 19 he began to learn to make the hand drum with the guidance and help of Clayton Chief. In pursuit of developing his knowledge of traditional music and culture, the Pow Wow Drum has taken Gerald across both Canada and the United States. Gerald is a current member of the Cowboy Society. In his spare time he teaches drumming to his students in Ministikwan and beyond. His wife Angie, children and his music are his world. When not at work, teaching others to play and sing, or attending Pow Wows and Roundances, you will find Gerald playing Hockey, harvesting, hunting and snaring. His dream is to be a Grass Dancer and the regalia is in the works!
Tamara Nicotine is from the Makwa Sahgaiehcan Cree Nation located in northwestern Saskatchewan. She finished her Cooking and Hospitality Course in May 2017 with Tourism, SK. As long as she can remember she has been in the outdoors and loves natures. Tamara is currently learning from her extended family members how to prepare and cook traditional foods, as well as the medicinal properties of these foods. Growing up she spent her summers between Makwa Sahgaiehcan and Red Pheasant vising her mosôm. She is working with kâ-nêyâsihk Cree Immersion preparing and serving traditional meals for the staff and students. In her spare time she enjoys reading, volunteering to help others and travelling. She wishes to pursue further education in the culinary arts. She also loves learning how to use makeup and cake design.
Outreach Worker & Community Liaison
Jody Houle BA, MA, Doctoral Student
Jody Houle is from the Whitefish Lake First Nation, AB. She has received a Bachelor of Indian Studies and a Bachelor of Social Work from the First Nations University of Canada. She then went on to pursue a Masters of Integrated Studies through the Athabasca University. Jody is now a ipk candidate in the Doctoral Studies at the University of Nuhelot’ine Thaiyots’I nistamêyimâkanak Blue Quills. She is very passionate of land-based education and about revitalizing the language. She is a beginner learner of the Cree language as she understands and can speak a little of the language. She enjoys walking, painting, dogsledding, canoeing and spending time with family and friends.
Staff Professional Development with Outdoor Council of Canada Trainers