A group of First Nations Elders have made an effort to pass their knowledge onto elementary school students.

The Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation has partnered with UNBC Assistant Professor of Nursing, Dr. Shannon Freeman, and Nak’azdli Whut’en health director, Jenny Martin, to facilitate intergenerational storytelling.

The children recorded the Elders’ stories and transformed them into multimedia presentations.

This allowed the students to adapt oral tradition into easily-preserved digital formats that included both sounds and imagery.

Freeman explained that she saw a variety of stories with personal importance shared.

“Some stories shared by the Elders were about creation and traditional medicines, while other stories were more personal about playing hockey in the olden days or how they became a poet,” she added.

The study explored the importance of bridging generational gaps and preserving First Nations stories following the legacy of residential schools.

“For the Nak’azdli, much of the Dakelh culture was damaged and lost… especially during the time of residential schools,”

Nak’azdli-driven engagement in community-minded innovative approaches to quality of life improvements were called a “response” to historical injustice.

More than 30 students and 13 Elders were involved in the process, which Freeman described as “a great honour.”

The complete experience was compiled into an article that has been published in the Canadian Journal of Aging.

The project was called “The Lha’hutit’en Project” by a leading Elder in the Nak’azdli community. When translated from Carrier to English, it means: “we work together, we help one another.”