Reclamation project connects youth and elders

(ANNews) – With a generous donation from Shell Canada and a focus on reclaiming old well sites, a piece of land was transformed into a thriving demonstration forest of medicinal and traditional plants. This unique project is a result of a partnership between Northern Lakes College, Shell Canada, Driftpile First Nation, and the Woodland Operations Learning Foundation (WOLF). The reclamation project offered much broader benefits than just the ecological impact on the area, it provided an opportunity for young people from the Driftpile community to connect with Elders and share in the traditional learning of plant species.

While the land that was transformed was not a prior well site, it resembled conditions similar to a well site drilled, and worked well for the reclamation project. Representatives from the various partners, along with youth and Elders, reclaimed the site using a variety of berries, willow, spruce, pine, poplar, and many other plants known traditionally for containing medicinal properties.

Working side by side, the youth learned a great deal of traditional knowledge from the Elders including how to make a tea to address cold symptoms such as coughing, or to treat digestive issues. This tea, known as ‘Amisk Amskwikwaskah’ is made from the dry leaves of a wild peppermint plant, and is among the plants chosen for this reclamation site. 

Darien Campiou, a young man involved in the reclamation project spoke about the importance of passing along and preserving the Elder’s teachings, “I would like the knowledge about the plants and the traditional way it’s been used to be passed among my peers.”

The reclamation project involved making a short video capturing the site reclamation and planting of the various medicinal and traditional plants. This video will help to ensure that others will be able to learn the traditional knowledge gained from the Elders. To view the video and test your knowledge with the Cree Plant quiz, go to: and click on the video icon.  


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