School health in action:

Sacred teachings

Welcome to the Indigenous Healing Garden at Dr. K.A. Clark school in the Fort McMurray Public School Division.

This garden is on Treaty 8 Territory, a traditional meeting grounds, gathering place, and travelling route to the Cree, Dene, dane-zaa (Beaver) and Métis. We acknowledge all the First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries.

Our garden is a special place. It grows the four sacred medicines—sage, tobacco, cedar, and sweet grass. And it grows so much more. 

This garden grows resilience.

The Indigenous Healing Garden supports hands-on learning about the traditional ways of growing and harvesting plants, sacred medicines, and sustainable practices. Each year, students have a say in planning the garden. They nurture seeds in grow towers, then transfer young plants to outdoor planter boxes when the time is right. 

Student ownership in the garden is a powerful thing. It grows their confidence, self-esteem, and pride. It gives students a chance to connect with nature in a way that's meaningful to them. 

This garden grows community. 

The Indigenous Healing Garden is a place where people come together.

  • It's an outdoor classroom, where teachers and students can learn from the land to support lessons in social studies, science, health, and physical education.
  • It's a place where Elders and Knowledge Keepers connect with students to share lessons of resilience and the Seven Sacred Teachings, and to tell stories about the role of sacred plants in Indigenous customs and celebrations. 
  • It's a hub for families and community members—everyone is welcome to visit the garden. The whole community helps to water, feed, groom, and harvest throughout the summer months.  

This garden grows partnerships. 

This inspiring project came to life with the leadership and guidance of Indigenous Elders, students, parents and caregivers, and community members. It was supported by an activation grant from Share2Care (PHE Canada) and funding from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. 

The Indigenous Healing Garden has sparked the imagination of the whole school community. Dr. K.A. Clark school recently unveiled an outdoor mural visible from the garden. Painted by a local Métis artist, it celebrates the Seven Sacred Teachings. There are also plans to add benches so that people can sit, rest, and reflect.

Feeling inspired?

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