By: Landis Cornett

The Taku River Tinglit First Nations are holding their summer Cultural Camp! The B.Y.T.E facilitation team had a chance to visit this camp and join in on the day’s activities. We arrived around 9am at the cultural camp with a beautiful day in front of us. The water from Atlin Lake perfectly calm, the sun starting to rise, and an enthusiastic group of T.R.T.F.N youth waking up. The youth were eager to fill us in on the hike they went on yesterday with the wise, local elder Melvin and the amazing T.R.T.F.N worker Stephen. They spotted mountain goats and learned about their behaviours, identified plants and brought back samples for their plant books they will receive after complete the cultural camp.

This camp is a great place. It takes youth back to the land, learning directly from elders and experienced youth workers. Above all, it keeps the traditional knowledge of the T.R.T.F.N alive. We started learning from the youth too, immediately after introductions the youth took us on a short walk around the bay to a beaver lodge where the youth were eager to share facts they had learned. “Do you know how many holes a beaver lodge has?” The answer is one!

Once back from our nature walk we already had learned much about the traditional territory of the T.R.T.F.N and were ready for our next activity. We all piled in the TRTFN van and headed over to the warm springs which is a beautiful place, a lush forest surrounding a small warm springs bursting with algae.

We got a fire going, discussed the safety aspects of being in bear country and the importance of staying together as a group. There had been a grizzly attack on a moose less than one week previous. We played some kick-the-can before having a nice hot dog roast. Stephen suggested, “how about we find some plants for a nice tea?” The youth agreed it was a good idea and they found some rose petals and sub-alpine fir needles to make this medicinal charged tea.

After lunch the youth were eager to jump into the warm springs and play for an hour, non-stop splashing, fun and snorkelling. The day was very hot and I felt a bit foolish just cooking on the shore! After this we went for another walk, this time to find Labrador tea, another addition for the youth’s traditional plant books. This wrapped up our day with the youth at cultural camp and it is a great feeling knowing that these youth are being taught such rich information through their wonderful instructors Melvin and Stephen. These youth are very lucky to have these two sharing all this knowledge and passing on information about the richness of T.R.T.F.N heritage. A big thank you for having us come out to learn, share and play with you. We had a great time!

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