Proposals for community review: Proposed Projects 2022
Creating physical connections to our traditional territory is healing. In the summer of 2021, we ran two community camping trips. They were well attended and participants experienced the positive impacts of being out on the land. A̱ka̱la would like to focus on supporting more community camping trips. To make the camping trips safe and accessible it is important that we know which camping sites are suitable for what age groups/accessibility levels, and if we can, make the sites more accessible. Starting from U’kwanalis, the A̱ka̱la team will travel out into the inlet and stop at sites along the way. At each site we will be looking at: accessibility needs, maintenance needs, quality of campsite, quality of beach, access to an outhouse, access to fresh water, and boat docking/beachlining access.
Sites to assess:
Charles Creek, Awagawis (Holden Creek), Belle Isle Sound, Simoom Sound, Hyle Bay, Eden Island (across from X̱ox̱opa and Joe Cove), W Tracy Island, Davies Island, John Island, Sawagax̱to’yi (Innis), Hayle Bay and Awadłała. We would talk to the Stewardship department, Council, and community to see if there are other places that should be on this list.
We would assess these sites using a skiff and canoe. This will give us the ability to land at all beaches and explore areas that a motorboat might not be able to reach. The A̱ka̱la team will be camping out while they conduct this research. Once finished scouting, we will write up a report and have a discussion with leadership and the community about our findings and recommendations.
Off-Reserve Outdoor Programs
A̱ka̱la Society wants to support the Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w citizens in our return to our traditional territories. We understand that for our off-reserve community the barriers for returning home can seem insurmountable. In an effort to reduce those barriers, A̱ka̱la would like to meet them where they are: urban settings. We propose to organize 1-2 day outdoor expeditions where we will facilitate conversations about what those barriers are for people and how we can reduce them so that they can feel empowered to visit our traditional territories. The pilot program(s) can start in Vancouver, Victoria and/or Campbell River. A̱ka̱la would take care of all gear and safety requirements.
A̱ka̱la will follow up with the participants of the urban programs to encourage them to join a program on Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w traditional territory. If there is a large interest in returning to our home territory, A̱ka̱la recommends finding funding to support participant transportation.
Outdoor Education at Lilawagila School
A̱ka̱la partnered with the Lilawagela School to deliver an outdoor education program in the spring of 2021. The program combined outdoor skills training with Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w knowledge weaved into the lessons. We would like to continue this program in the spring of 2022. We learned a lot from the pilot program with the school and would like to continue building this program so that it meets the needs of the kids and the school. Ideas to expand on the program would be to:
- Add more lessons (i.e.: route planning, canoe paddling, tides/currents, weather)
- Spend a night camping at the New Park before we go further so that the kids become more familiar with camping, and parents can feel safer sending the kids out on a longer camping trip, or one that is further away from the community
- Create badges or pins for the lessons to acknowledge the students accomplishments
- Finish the program with a ceremony that the community can attend to uplift the students and their accomplishments in the outdoors
Boat Training for Women and Non-binary people
Knowing how to safely operate a boat is a huge part of life in our territory. The responsibility of boat operation has largely been put on the shoulders of men. We want to empower women and non-binary people in our community to feel comfortable operating a boat so that they can provide for their families and travel through our territories. A̱ka̱la has been in communication with Datum Marine Services about creating a program for Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w women and non-binary people that is curated for our community needs and marine conditions. We would like to hire on Musgamakw Dzawada̱’enux̱w boat operator to co-instruct on this course as well. We are looking for nation’s to sponsor participants in this program.