Experiential Learning Courses

Spring 2017 Experiential Field School in First Nations Studies

The Unist’ot’en, through the leadership of Elders and chosen spokesperson Freda Huson, are occupying their Unist’ot’en territory as was done for centuries. This connection to land and territory has made a healing space for individuals and community. The land stewardship also represents strong opposition to attempts by industry to damage or jeopardize that environment. Traditional governance guides the proper use and access to lands and water. 

This course will have students learn about decolonization, learn from the camp’s leaders and elders, and participate in the day-to-day activities of the camp, which include working in the permaculture garden, green house, root cellar, cooking, gathering food on the land and many more opportunities to serve.

May 8 - May 12, 2017
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Unist'ot'en Camp at Talbits Kwah
Instructors: Dr. Antonia Mills & Dr. Robert Budde

For registration please pick up Field School registration form from Gina MacDonald in Admin. 3009.  For more information please contact Dr. Antonia Mills at antonia.mills@unbc.ca or Dr. Robert Budde at robert.budde@unbc.ca

Spring 2016 Experiential Learning Course FNST 444-3: First Nations Cultural Heritage through Moose-Hide Tanning

This intensive hands-on experiential-learning course introduced students to concepts, case studies and perspectives on issues relating to Indigenous cultural heritage through the process of tanning a moose-hide.  Co-facilitated with two Nak’azdli Dakelh knowledge-holders, Yvonne Pierreroy and Mildred Martin, this course engaged students in the process of preparing hides while simultaneously exploring Indigenous voices and diverse themes in cultural heritage, including recovery, protection and revitalization.  This class included travel to UNBC as well as to the home of the knowledge-holders, in Prince George. This seminar-based class was founded on discussions of the readings, lectures and participation in the moose-hide tanning. Through the tanning process, students had hands-on experience while developing an understanding of Indigenous history and cultural heritage as well as appreciation for Dakelh traditions and skills in their traditional and contemporary contexts.


Summer 2014 "Making a Pit House"

FNST 161-3

Vince Prince, with the assistance of Jennifer Pighin and Edie Frederick, taught the course on behalf of the First Nations Studies department, This hands-on experiential course was conducted with Elders, undergraduate students and local high school students who engaged in the making of a Dakelh style Pit House. A Pit House is a traditional winter dwelling historically used by the Dakelh peoples and other First Nations of BC. The location provided a natural setting with the opportunity for  experiential enrichment in various aspects of Dakelh culture. Through participating in the Pit House Course, students received hands-on experience while developing an understanding of First Nations history, traditions, culture and appreciation for the environment and its traditional and contemporary uses.

Please note that this Pit House has been constructed on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh with their permission, support and participation. The course was also made possible with the support of a UNBC Undergraduate Experiential Learning Grant in partnership with the Aboriginal Business and Community Development Center. The course also received support through a UNBC 25th Anniversary Grant. We also acknowledge the Greenway Trail Society for their support.

The First Nations Studies Department of UNBC in partnership with the students of the FNST 161 Dakelh Pit House Course, are pleased to invite you to visit the Tsasdli Yoh (Frog Pit House) near UNBC on the Cranbrook Hill Greenway Trail. It is a10-15 min walk from the parking lot.

CKPG news reports on "Making a Pit House"


Winter and Summer Semesters of 2013 "Dakélh Studies: The Dugout Cottonwood Canoe (Ts'i)"

FNST 208-3 / 284-3 / 303-3

The Dakélh Studies Dugout Cottonwood Canoe courses were an experiential learning opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in direct instruction with local Lheidli T'enneh Elders Robert and Edith Frederick. Students learned about and engaged with the natural environment through direct contact, traditional storytelling, journaling, personal research, critical thinking on local topics, individual carving projects and the art of carving out a dugout canoe from a cottonwood tree in the traditional fashion all infused with learning about the traditional culture, history and language of the Lheidli T'enneh. In the first course each student created and brought home a miniature dugout cottonwood canoe as well as learned the basics of carving while replicating the design from one side of the dugout canoe to the other side. In the second, among other experiences the students carved two full sized dugout canoes from a single cottonwood tree on the Lhezbaeoonichek reserve. Both classroom experiences became part of a living community where students learned not only from the instructors but also from themselves and each other.

Click here for Video Footage