Our cultural experiences are weaved into every aspect of our programming at Shift. We constantly seek to connect children and youth with their community, their Elders, their families, and the land. Some of the experiences our youth at Trailcross (Fort Smith, NT) have recently participated in include:
• Cultural adventures such as winter camping in Thebacha and learning about medicine wheel teachings and inspiring legends around Inuit culture, Sundance and bush life & hunting in Fort Good Hope; visiting Fox Holes Sweat Lodge and teaching the youth respect and importance around healing.
• Indigenous learnings such as knowledge translation – animals and guides through spirituality practice; spending time with Elders and enjoying stories from their childhood; as well as exploring Indigenous literature.
• Engaging in Indigenous art practices such as building dry meat racks; learning the art of bone carving; creating beaded dreamcatchers, earrings, medicine bags and mittens with buffalo hide and beaver fur; designing and sewing ribbon shirts and skirts as opportunities to discuss their use for ceremony, burials, weddings and any other kinds of celebrations in honor of one’s Indigenous self.
• Cooking & enjoying an array of country foods such as Bannock and whole white breaded fish on open fires.
• Engaging in ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ including writing to Elders at the Northern Light Special Care Home; baking and designing holiday cards for community members as well as RCMP and volunteer firefighters; weeding the community garden; organizing bottle drives; donating to the soup kitchen; and delivering ‘get well cards’ for individuals at the health centre.
• Land-based experiences such as gathering poles for teepee building and enjoying campfires, searching for crystals, picking medicine and berries; hiking Salt Plains, Snake Pits, Mount Portage, Little Buffalo Falls, Landslide, Peace Point/ Peace River, Fox Holes, Pine Lake, the rapids etc.
The following is a cherished quote from Lynette, our Community Connector at Trailcross.