Students at Caledon’s Maawnjidiing Wiingushkeng Centre for Indigenous Excellence and Land-Based Learning recently launched a 12-foot birchbark canoe that was built by eight students under the tutelage of traditional canoe builder Chuck Commanda (Kitigan Zibi). Students learned how to build a canoe with all-natural materials such as spruce root, wood nails, spruce sap, and animal fat while learning stories, teachings, and traditional knowledge from Commanda. “They built the entire canoe, from beginning to end, using all-natural materials, the way our ancestors used to make them,” said Peel District School Board Coordinating Vice-Principal of Indigenous Education Nicole Reynolds. Students had a chance to take the canoe they built on a voyage, and all participants received a credit toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The canoe will be brought to each students’ home school so they can share their experience with their school communities.