Land-based Learning in Teetl'it Zheh: A Teetl'it Gwich'in-University of Alberta Partnership

A collaborative project building a sustainable on-the-land learning camp for Teetl'it Gwich'in youth, elders, and everyone in between.

From 2017-2020, we will establish a youth-focused community bush camp as a site for Gwich’in land-based practice. This bush camp school will provide a critical land-based education for Gwich’in youth. Immersing them in a transformative experience, guided by elders in a camp whose decision-making process, curriculum, and activities will be structured by traditional Gwich’in governance processes.

Youth will be given the opportunity to learn summer-based bush skills like fishing and moose hide tanning, along with the running of a camp—set-up, cooking, eating, cleaning, camp management, etc.—in ways that differ from life in town. While a significant part of the bush camp experience is elder-centered practical education, youth will also be exposed to critical Indigenous studies scholarship, Gwich’in history and governance, and decolonial pedagogy. Through this immersive process, students will be able to renew Gwich’in governance practices, build land-based knowledge and skills, and situate this within a larger narrative of colonization and resistance.

By connecting the knowledge of community leaders, knowledge holders, & University researchers, this project will explore Gwich’in land-based knowledge skills related to bush camp life, Gwich’in governance processes, & intergenerational knowledge transmission.

Our Teetl’it Zheh community partners possess immense land-based knowledge and have worked with young people on the land for many years. This project represents a coming together of experience that will allow us to increase the scale and reach of on-the-land learning in the North and across Canada. The Faculty of Native Studies is an emerging national leader in community engaged Indigenous research and is in the process of developing several on-the-land learning projects.

5 Goals of the Project
1. Develop resources for future Gwich’in land based learning camps based on the knowledge shared at the camp & by the elders who attend;
2. Develop a “How-To” guide for Indigenous communities looking to establish their own community bush camps available as a free download;
3. Publish on the themes, experiences, and challenges that emerged from the camp
4. Host a “land-based learning” conference at the U of A;
5. Develop a fifth outcome with Gwich’in youth participants that will emerge from the project. For this goal to be met, we will support the leadership of youth to envision & carry out this project outcome.


Teetł'it Zheh kaiik'it danh Dachan Tat Adigwidaandaii ganahghwoonyahchyaa: Teetł'it Zheh ts'at University of Alberta gwits'at gwich'in nihkhah guk'ahanhdak.

Juk gwindoo, khaii tik ganhshuk, kaiik'it gwizhit nits'oo dachan tat adigwidaandaii eenjit ganahghwahtr'oohanahtan gwik'it gwiheelyah.  Anjoo kat, k'eejit nilii kat gahgoohaanyahchyaa.  Nits'oo deh dinjii zhuh gwich'in kat tr'igwindaii, jidii deh hah gugwaa'e' eenjit nihkhah giheekhyah.

Nits'oo dachan tat tr'igwindaii, łuk katr'idi'in, dinjik dhoh tr'ahshii hah gahtr'oo'aii ts'at nits'oo kwank'it gwizhit tr'igwich'in, nits'oo niihaak'it niinjih, zheh gwidhoh nigiteetthał, vakatr'ahch'uu, atr'a'aa, ijiich'ii gehsriinagahandal, nits'oo kaiik'it gwizhit sriits'at tr'igweheendaii eenjit tthak gagootr'ohanahchyah.  Nits'oo de ijiich'ii t'igiheedi'yaa guuvah nihkhah tr'agwahaandak.  Yeenoo dai', nits'oo nakhwa anjoo kat giniinjil, jidii hah gugwaa'e', jii tthak gagootr'oohanahtan.

Niihaak'it gwizhit danh, nits'oo yeenoo dai' gwits'at giniinjil eenjit nihkhah giheekhyah.  Nits'oo de ijiich'ii hah gwitr'it t'ugwehee'aii, jidii hah gugwaa'e' giik'ahaajik.  Nijin gwinoo gwits'at oonjit kat nakhwatat giniinjik gwits'at nits'oo guuveh'an ejuk ts'at gwiidindaii eenjit nihkhah giheekhyah.

Jidii ants'at gwinaa'ih

Kaiik'it gwizhit anjoo kat ts'at judin jiłch'eiinat giinlii, aii University gwits'at  gwitr'it t'ugwah'ii kat hah nihts'at tr'igiheendal.  Nits'oo de gwich'inat gugweendai', jidii hah gugwaa'e', jii tthak gwik'ahaandal.

Teetł'it Zheh gwizhit aii nakhwa anjoo kat leii, nits'oo de niizhit dai' gwits'at dachan tat adigwidaandaii gwiinzii giyahgwidindaii. Jii gwitr'it t'igahah'aa k'iighe', jii nakhwananh gwizhit ts'at Canada datthak gwizhit gwich'inat giik'ahaanjik.  Faculty of Native Studies gwizhit gwitr'it t'igah'ii kat, nits'oo dachan tat adigwidaandaii eenjit gwitr'it choo gugwahtsii.

Gwitr'it ihłoogwinli' t'igiheedi'yah.
1.  Jii gwitr'it t'ugugwah'ii, jidii danakhwagahnuu, nits'oo de dagwiheedi'yaa, yeendoo eenjit jii gwandak edinehtł'leh kak tr'ahdantł'oh, iizhii kat yiht'ahdahch'yaa.
2.  Uu'ok kaiik'it gwitak gwinaanch'uu, duulee nits'oo dachan tat niihaak'it tr'ahahtsaa, juu t'igiheedi'yaa giiniidhan, edinehtł'eh "Juhts'an ts'at t'oghwooghwa'aa" tr'ahdantł'oh.
3.  Niihaak'it eenjit jidii danaghwagahnuu tthak edinehtł'eh et'aonaanch'uu tr'ahdahtł'oh.
4.  University of Alberta danh, dachan tat niihaak'it eenjit ginjih gahdaaghoo, nihkhah tr'igiheekhyah.
5.  K'eejit kat guuvah ginjih gahdaaghoo, yeendoo nagwidadhat, jidii t'igiheedi'yaa, t'ai' guuts'an haatsaa ginuh.