Engineering student receives $30,000 grant for Indigenous youth camp

May 1, 2019 - An enterprising Laurentian engineering student has received a $30,000 grant to expand a camp she started to help revitalize Anishinaabe culture. 

Kaella-Marie Earle, a fourth-year engineering student, said the grant from the Laidlaw Foundation Indigenous Youth and Community Futures Fund will allow her to expand the Maamiwi Gibeshiwin Indigenous Cultural Training Camp -- extending the camp from three to four days, and supporting more activities and facilitators. 

With the new funding, she said she also plans create a website for the camp, and promote it more ahead of time.

Earle was motivated to start the camp when she heard about Barbara Kentner, an Indigenous woman from Thunder Bay who was killed when she was struck by a trailer hitch in November 2017.

Earle wanted to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, and help end a cycle of violence that has victimized Indigenous women and girls. 

With help from Indigenous knowledge keepers and elders, the camp has helped Indigenous participants reconnect with their culture and their language. Non-Indigenous participants learn about that culture, the impact of intergenerational trauma and help non-Indigenous people develop their allyship skills so they can be active in changing the narrative about Indigenous peoples.

It can be an emotional experience for both groups, Earle said. 

Anyone interested in participating in the camp, or volunteering, can reach Earle at km_earle@laurentian.ca.