Theresa Tayler/Metro Calgary
Amelia Crowshoe knows that if the children in her community don’t learn to manage, control and succeed in business, her culture could soon start to be lost.
The Treaty Seven Youth Project Co-ordinator has been part of the Stampede’s Indian Village for most of her life and her family participates in helping to run the village every year.
But Crowshoe says it’s becoming apparent that young people are losing interest in running the traditional village exhibit.
“We’re having the problem now of youth wanting to carry on the Indian Village, there is the old and the young and no connection in between,” said Crowshoe. “We asked ourselves what happens when all these oldtimers retire and don’t want to Stampede anymore, will the young carry on our culture here?”
Crowshoe, a member of the Piikani Nation, said one of the ways the young can be encouraged to keep the tradition of the Indian Village going is to teach them strong business and communication skills.
So yesterday, members of the Native community invited several Mount Royal College business students to spend the day in the Village and pass on some basic business skills to the youth.
“This helps to teach them leadership skills and things that they will use in the future,” she said.
In return for the Bissett Business students’ knowledge, aboriginal youth passed on some lessons about native culture, and how to build a teepee.
“This is a real venue of cultural validation and that’s why we want to share it with everyone — we’re proud of who we are and we want to share that,” said Crowshoe.
About 25 MRC Bissett Business students and upwards of 10 aboriginal youth worked together on several team-building exercises yesterday — that evening they raised a teepee together.
Lesley Dovichak, an international business and supply chain management student, from MRC said the experience was just as much of a learning experience for the college students as it was for the aboriginal youth.
“This helps to teach us how to work through things with other cultures in business, many of these business students are international students, so it’s important that they learn about communication with other cultures,” said Dovichak.