Grassy Narrows students complete epic canoe journey
Students from Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows) completed an epic 127 km canoe trip in September and the only excuse from a student was being unable to sleep at night because of his friend’s “Sasquatch sounds.”
The seven-day canoe trip route which took six days from Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation to Wabaseemoong (Whitedog Reserve) was planned and chaperoned by Grassy Narrows teachers Milo Richards, an outdoor education teacher and Debby Ropp, a school councilor and teacher.
The trip was part of an outdoor education class, which was locally developed, and based on Ontario ministry of education curriculum expectations approved for Healthy Active Living Education at the grade 10 level.
“The class provides a challenge to the individual student to discover new personal limits,” said Richards. “This is achieved through the acquisition of outdoor recreation skills, while providing an opportunity to develop an ecological awareness of our natural environment and make meaningful cultural connections to Anishinabe life.”
Each of the courses focuses on seasonal activities that reflect the time of the year, said Richards. For example, canoe tripping at the beginning and end of each year, trapping in the winter, fish net setting in winter, fall and spring, wild ricing in the fall, camping in winter and summer, wilderness safety year round, and the big canoe in the fall and spring.
“The canoe trip route from Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation to Wabaseemoong seemed like an opportunity to connect youth from the two communities,” he said.
And the best part of the trip according to the students were the campfires, the historical significance and the actual paddling.
"I enjoyed singing some good old pow wow songs with the class around the fire,” said student Jimi Fobister. “I was encouraged to go because of my interest in seeing where my ancestors were living. I got used to the bush food, so the day I got home I cooked myself a storm of pancakes and sausages.”
Student Paul Tayler agreed. "The best moments on trip were when we would make each other laugh around the campfire, and I loved looking at the stars in the night sky, its amazing feeling,” he said.
However the lowest part was summed up by Keenan Wesley.
"You were probably thinking I was going to say paddling, but nope! It’s actually when I have to go to sleep. Sleeping with a bunch of guys who have been in the bush for days on end and smell awful is really hard, especially when of those guys makes sasquatch sounds all night!"
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