We are gathered on Treaty One Territory, the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Inninew, Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota Nations, and the traditional homeland and birthplace of the Metis Nation. We dedicate ourselves to reshaping our relationships with the land and with each in a spirit of reconciliation.
Seven Oaks School Division stewards a unique place of learning on 49 acres in West St. Paul, Manitoba. The land is shared by a land-based learning facility, Ozhaawashkwaa Animikii-Bineshi Aki Onji Kinimaagae’ Inun (Aki Centre) and the SOSD’s Service Centre which houses the divisional Maintenance and Transportation operations and divisional Conference Rooms.
These 49 acres are natural and agricultural grounds for community and classroom extensions to land-based learning, sharing a combination of Indigenous and western perspectives. It provides an opportunity to teach and learn on the land. Experiences are designed by teachers and are influenced by phenology on this landscape. Stewardship and service learning opportunities are extended to students when possible.
Prior to SOSD's innovations, this land formerly grew crops like oilseeds, legumes, and grains. However, these crops struggled due to waterlogged and saline soil. Prior to agricultural use, this land was a wet meadow in the Indigenous tall grass prairie. These wet lands can be difficult to cultivate, and benefit from permanent vegetation. SOSD's stewardship plan began in the fall of 2017, striving to enhance soil health and restore ecological processes by enhancing and conserving biodiversity. Approximately 35 acres are being restored to the Indigenous ecosystem, the tall grass prairie. In April 2019, the doors to the leaners' Aki Centre opened to welcome land-based, experiential learning.
Today you will find the following features on the land:
- 3 km of walking trails
- Aki Centre, or "Land Centre", our shortened version of our given name. A 4-season modular indoor gathering space with washrooms, resources, and an equipped learning kitchen
- Service Centre (Maintenance and Transportation departments) with Conference Rooms and CVE Building Trades classroom
- 67' x 23' Passive Solar Greenhouse
- Wawiyia'kiti'gahn (Circle Garden), a Medicine Wheel shaped aligned with the four directions. Two quadrants grow sacred medicines, Sage and Sweetgrass, and two grow Indigenous Plants of our Indigenous Grassland. Seven benches with the Seven Sacred Teachings form an inner circle, and the outer circle of 13 boulders represent the 13 moons in our lunar calendar.
- Tipi and Sweat Lodge
- Fireside gathering areas
- Indigenous Plant and Model Prairie Gardens
- Heirloom Vegetable and Herb Gardens
- 4-acres of Cover Crop
- Tree Nursery
- 30 acres of Tall Grass Prairie Restoration in progress
- Naturalized Retention Pond
- Conservation of a 5-acre remnant Tall Grass Prairie
- Novi-Comp, large scale in-vessel composting for SOSD schools
- Toboggan Hill
Land-based, experiential learning at Ozhaawashkwaa Animikii-Bineshi Aki Onji Kinimaagae' Inun is guided and reflected by:
Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Education for Sustainable Development and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals