Native students begin Similkameen water studies

Sixteen native students are participating in water studies, in a program operated by the Centre for Indegenous Environmental Resources


First Nations students from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Shoal Lake Ontario, and Beausoliel Island on Georgian Bay arrived in the Similkameen earlier this week to participate in the second of four water  conferences.

Four Similkameen students are also participating in the studies, hosted by Amanda Karst, Program Facilitator for the Centre for Indegenous Environmental Resources, developers of the program.

“The students have a busy schedule,” Karst said Monday morning as students prepared for opening ceremony exercises, which included a “smudging” ceremony just outside Similkameen Elementary Secondary School.

“The idea is for the students to identify water action priorities in each community they visit,” said Karst. “They work out details of a water plan, find out who to partner with and create a budget. They will also be developing a digital story to run on the  centre’s website.”

Karst said the group, which consists of four students from the four water regions of Canada, will also take a one day field trip to the Okanagan to explore water issues in that valley between Osoyoos and  Penticton.

The groups’ first study area was with the Beausoliel First Nations in Ontario. By the third session, the groups will begin to implement their water action plans to their communities.

The students will spend a week studying water issues in the Similkameen.