If you were a Mi’kmaq teenager, what could be better than to spend a week this summer on the Bras d’Or Lakes?
How about reconnecting with nature, learning all about natural resources and traditional Mi’kmaq values and practices?
For the next week that is exactly what is happening at Nikani Awtiken, a summer camp for Mi’kmaq youth taking place at Camp Rankin near St. Peter’s over the next eight days.
Twenty-five teenagers from across Nova Scotia have signed on to take workshops and field trips led by resource experts and Mi’kmaq Elders, who will provide training in a wide range of skills including forest management, native species and medicinal plant identification, invasive species, GPS use, chainsaw and boating safety, team building, leadership skills, first aid, professional work ethics and traditional Mi’kmaq knowledge.
If you aren’t tired out just hearing about some of the things that these youth will be doing,throw in nightly campfires, a day of eel spearing, a sweat lodge and a hike to Kluskap’s Cave! Did we mention the feast and community BBQ?
Nadine LeFort is Education & Outreach Coordinator at Mi’kmaq Education Learning Centre (MELC) and over the past few months she has been arranging the camp activities, recruiting the participants, hiring staff and attending to the many, many details involved in a project of this scope.
“Nikani Awtiken, is a Mi’kmaq phrase that means “trail blazing” or “creating a new path”, and while this is our second year in hosting the camp, every year is a new adventure!
If the responses from last year are any indication, we can expect another great year as participants develop new confidence and skills that we hope will lead to carrers in natural resources or conservation.”
Funding for this year’s Nikani Awtiken was provided by Nova Scotia Departments of Natural Resources and Education, Walmart Evergreen, UINR, Cape Breton University, Membertou Recreation Association, Port Hawkesbury Pape, and Premium Seafoods, Eskasoni, Waycobah and Pictou Landing Band Councils.