Henny Bruised Head and Chelsea Low Rider: Bringing farming back to the Blood Tribe

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Sprouting from a need to fuel her beloved horses with the right nutrition, Henny Bruised Head (Blood Tribe Agricultural Training Initiative 2015) enrolled in the unique agricultural initiative between the Blood Tribe and Lethbridge College in January of 2015.

Bruised Head joined a movement spearheaded by the largest reserve in Canada to actively take steps forward to secure the future of their land and people with one program and the help of Lethbridge College. The Blood Tribe Agricultural Program (BTAP) is an initiative that is teaching the Kainai people best practices and skills for farming land and livestock, ensuring it will be around for generations to come.

“With poor feed you could lose a good horse. It affects them in all kinds of ways, physically and mentally. So now when we go to buy feed, I can tell by just looking at it if it’s going to be any good for our horses. The farmers around here are like, ‘oh you’re so fussy’,” laughs Bruised Head.

After successfully graduating from the four-month Blood Tribe Agricultural Training Initiative (BTATI) last spring, Bruised Head and classmate, Chelsea Low Horn (Day Rider) (Blood Tribe Agricultural Training Initiative 2015, Office Assistant 1999), were excited to further their education and enrolled in the college’s two-year agricultural sciences diploma program.

Learning how they can improve the land and give back to their community keeps these determined women moving forward on the path to higher education.

Now in its second year, the BTATI program welcomed a new group of trainees in January who are learning the ways of the land at Lethbridge College. With a graduation rate of around 83 per cent in its inaugural class, Aloyuisius Black Water, chairman of the Blood Tribe Land Management department, attributes the program’s success in part to the commitment of the many stakeholders and Blood Tribe community members who came together to launch the BTATI program.

“I really commend not only our Chief and Council for supporting this project but also give thanks to our farmers as well. They’re giving the hands-on training and learning to these students,” said Black Water.

Bruised Head and Low Horn spoke to the latest group of BTATI students about their experiences and successes in the program. Bruised Head explains how her experience has sparked curiosity and interest in the community members around her and was glad to see so many familiar faces amongst the new BTATI group.

Black Water hopes this program will show his community what a positive initiative the BTATI and BTAP programs have been on the reserve. Being able to point to the successes graduates have had in changing their lives and those of the community around them is something he hopes lives on in the Kainai land and continues to prosper.

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