August 11, 2016 - 8:00 PM
VERNON - Indigenous youth will lead a five-day canoe journey across traditional Syilx territory and more than 100 kilometres of Okanagan Lake later this month.
The group will launch in Penticton on Aug. 28 in large war canoes and a dugout canoe, and travel 114 km up Okanagan Lake.
The Okanagan Indian Band is working with the First Nations Friendship Centre to host the unique experience.
“The Truth Way Canoe Journey is an incredible summer cultural water transportation experience for youth that connects them to the local traditions of the Syilx people,” states a release from the band.
Funded by the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the aim is to use land-based experiences to engage youth, men, women and families into thinking about their diverse roles in their communities through a Syilx perspective.
“Many water-based customs will be practiced to celebrate our reconnecting with self to and community,” the band says.
Throughout the training and the journey, youth will participate in activities that develop critical awareness building and provide opportunities for authentic sharing and learning. Participants will increase their resilience through meaningful experiences that strengthen relationships to land, water and each other.
Fostering stronger relationships and mutual trust with local authorities, such as the RCMP and B.C. Parks, is another aspect of the project. The RCMP has offered the use of safety vessels, and several B.C. Parks will be used as camp and launch sites.
A Camp Leader Canoe course was completed by four adults and two youth through a partnership with School District 22’s Aboriginal Education Department.
Paddle practice began July 21 and will run Thursdays until August 25.
If you are a First Nation, Metis, Inuit youth or person interested in participating, volunteering or can run a camp kitchen contact Mariel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-308-4066.
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