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 Aski Achimowin

​The heart of Cree culture lies in the language and the land. Recognizing this, University College of the North, under the leadership of the President’s Office and the Centre for Aboriginal Languages and Culture, implemented a week-long Cree language camp in August 2018.

Camp participants lived with one other, and alongside Elders and teachers, spent an immersive week exploring Elder’s stories, traditional teachings with daily opportunities to learn and practice Cree.

The land-based program took place at Egg Lake in the traditional territory of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. The focus of ASKI ACHIMOWIN was to strengthen and enliven Cree language through group experience, supported leadership, and hands-on learning activities.

Instructors provided a key link between land-based learning and basic Cree language attainment. Camp activities gave participants positive opportunities to develop authentic and natural experiences with Elders.

Students were able to connect with the land, appreciate the power of storytelling, value Cree language, and gain an understanding of Cree cultural ways of being. While Cree language fluency remain central to Cree cultural survival, the importance of immersive language experiences – like that of ASKI ACHIMOWIN – is foundational to the language’s long-term survival as a storehouse of traditional knowledge.

Central to the guided learning experiences were the Cree concepts of ‘wahkotowin’ (good relations) and ‘mino pimatiswin’ (living a good life).

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