It took almost a year but a connection between an educator and an oil and gas giant is paying off.

Barb Belcourt works as a First Nations, Metis, Inuit Liason Officer with the Peace Wapiti School Division. She was able to share information about the Cree language program offered at Hythe Regional School with Veresen Midstream’s Community Affairs Advisor Leanne Chartrand last August.

This spring a group from Pembina Pipelines toured the school, they operate a pipeline for Veresen Midstream just west of Hythe. Chartrand says they are always looking for ways to support communities they are connected to and she thought the program was unique.

“What really caught my attention is that [Barb Belcourt] is bringing the Cree language and elements of the culture to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.”

Chartrand says there are certain focuses for their community support programs. They must focus on education and environment, health and safety as well as culture and recreation. She says this program was a natural fit.

“The program at Hythe Regional School focuses on education, children and the traditional Cree teachings of respecting the environment.”

Belcourt acknowledged how important it is for the company to honour the traditional language of the area.

The $10,000 will be used to purchase classroom resources like visual aids, cultural craft supplies and books.