First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI)

Nan Balkwill, LL FNMI Grad Coach

December 2019 / January 2020 News

Oki! Tansi! Tawnshi! Hello! Bonjour!

I hope the year has been going well for everyone. Here at school our year continues to be full of activities and learning. Here is an update of what has been going on and what is yet to come! Our Indigenous Education programming is open to all students who would like to come and learn.

Past Events

In October, we had Word Fest author Jesse Thistle here and he shared his book, “From the Ashes”, and spoke with a wide variety of classes. Students found his talk very engaging and honest. Jesse is Metis-Cree from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and currently an assistant professor at York University in Toronto.

On November 14, we went to Jack James High School to sit in circle with Elder Kerrie Moore. She led us in her Grandmother Tea Ceremony and teachings with our female identifying students. Kerrie is a Cree Metis Elder and Professor at the University of Calgary.

Current Ongoing programing

The University of Calgary will be running an Indigenous Youth Leadership program called, Ótáp ímisskaan, on the following Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30; November 26, Dec. 4, 10, 17. We will be meeting in the Dream Catcher room after school. All are welcome to come and learn about leadership from an Indigenous perspective.

Upcoming Events

December 3 we are going to Mini-Med School. This program has been designed by the University of Calgary’s Medical School to promote the field of medicine as a career to First Nation, Metis and Inuit students.

December 4 Awo Tann Healing Lodge will be here at lunch to teach students how to bead. All are welcome. We will meet in the Dream Catcher Room.

December 11 Elder Kerrie Moore will be returning to lead ceremony and teachings with our female identifying students.
If you have any questions or would like to be involved in any of our programs please stop by the Dream Catcher Room, contact me at 403-272-6665 ext. 2244 or


October/November 2019

Oki! Tansi! Tawnshi! Hello! Bonjour! Welcome back, everyone. I hope this newsletter finds you all well. Here in our Dream Catcher room, our students are busy getting settled into this first semester, new school for some, new classes for others, meeting new friends and learning their way through this new school year.

My name is Nan Balkwill and I am the Indigenous Student Success Teacher and Indigenous Education Coordinator here at Forest Lawn. This is my second year here and I LOVE IT. I have been with the Calgary Board of Education since 2001 but in the last 4 years have found my passion and reason for becoming a teacher in Indigenous Education. I feel very honoured to have this opportunity to work with our amazing students and staff at Forest Lawn. 

I work out of the Dream Catcher Room, which is located just inside the Learning Commons. This is a space for our First Nation, Metis and Inuit students to access support for both in and outside of school, to come and work in a quiet space, to eat lunch, to meet new friends, and/or to be apart of a variety of events we have going on. This is also the space we smudge in at school; students are welcome anytime to smudge here. Please come talk to me if you have any questions about anything, if I don’t know I will find out who you do need to talk to.


This past month we have already had two events. We went Sage picking with Elder Kerrie Moore up at Nose Hill and we had Elder Hal Eagletail in to speak to students from a variety of classes; English, CALM, Social and PLP. Hal spoke about Tsuu T’ina Nation history, traditional education and Residential schools. He also shared with us his traditional stories and drum songs. We would like to thank the Parent Council for their support in bringing Elder Hal Eagletail in and in promoting Indigenous Education here at Forest Lawn. 

Monday, September 30 was Orange Shirt Day, a day to promote awareness of the Indian Residential Schools and the legacy that it has left. It is a day for us all to wear orange, honour the Residential School Survivors and stand behind our belief that ‘Every Child Matters’. We also will be attending the citywide Calgary Board of Education Orange Shirt Day Ceremony at the downtown Public Library. Forest Lawn will be leading the march of 40 schools at this Ceremony and one of our own students will be Emceeing the event. 

On November 15 and December 11 we will be having Elder Kerrie Moore in to do traditional woman teachings and Hal Eagletail will be here Dec. 11 to do tradition men teachings. For more information on any of these events or any other questions you may have please contact me, Nan Balkwill at 403-272-6665 ext. 2244 or

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