Six Indigenous youth take to the skies

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Indigenous students from First Nations across Southern Manitoba have completed an intensive three day ground school and are preparing for their very first flights. The young people were selected for Eagle’s Wings Flight School’s (EWFS) first ever summer flying program and have had full days this week spending their mornings taking cultural awareness sessions focused on traditional medicines and ceremonies, treaties, and the history of Indigenous people in Canada. Volunteer flight instructors have spent the afternoons teaching on topics that the students will draw from in the weeks to come as they take to the skies: aerodynamics, forces of flight, and weather to name a few. The class will begin the airborne portion of the program on Saturday, Aug. 1, flying out of Southport, in an Allegro 2000 Advanced Ultralight aircraft.

Not-for-profit, Eagle’s Wings Flight School, is in its very first year of operation and is comprised of a volunteer-based board of directors whose mission is to to inspire at-risk youth to explore their innate gifts, build self-confidence, and develop practical life-skills through aviation training.

Board chair and flight instructor Joshua Cordery said, “These young people haven’t been in a classroom environment since March, yet this week I’ve seen a passion and excitement for learning that sets us up well as we head into our flying phase.”

EWFS has partnered with student sponsor agency Dakota & Ojibway Child and Family Services to offer both cultural and flight based sessions.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else doing what we’re doing: teaching Dakota and Anishinaabe youth about their history and traditions, and combining that with principles of flight,” added Cordery.

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At the heart of this program is a desire to make opportunities available to youth despite any social, economic or financial barriers they may face. The EWFS team and their generous sponsors share a desire for reconciliation with our Indigenous friends and neighbours. Giving these youth an opportunity which they might not otherwise have had that will transform their outlook on their future is a what it’s all about.

The forecast this weekend looks great for flying, there are blue skies ahead for these student pilots.

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