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Small beginnings. The Christian Island Survival School.

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posted on Apr, 30 2007 @ 06:54 AM
Working together, Native Americans and Europeans re-establish traditional survival techniques on a small island in Georgian Bay.

To see this type of cooperation is hopeful for future generations, even though it is only a tiny glimmer in the materialistic darkness.

IMO, such training should be part of the curriculum for every young person living in Canada.

Non-Indians help youth find Ojibwa roots

There are nine young men in what's called the Cultural Wilderness Program, all between their late teens and mid-20s, and all chronically unemployed. Heading in and out of the bush over a 14-week period with either Khan or VanderMolen, they are learning survival skills and traditional Ojibwa practices such as how to kill an animal, spirit it, skin it and prepare its meat.

When not learning how to survive in the bush they are taught traditional leatherwork, Ojibwa history and the forgotten prayer rituals of their ancestors. This is the inaugural class of the Cultural Wilderness Program on Christian Island.

"It's an intense course," Khan says. "This isn't stuff from a textbook. They will use the entire part of the animal – rabbits, porcupine, grouse, snakes – baby blankets will be made from the skin, the meat will be blessed and shared as a communal meal and the innards will left in the bush so other animals can participate. It's about being in the continuity of the life cycle."

Such a traditional understanding of Ojibwa life is seldom taught here any more.


[edit on 30/4/07 by masqua]

posted on Apr, 30 2007 @ 11:16 AM
Consider the simplest of reasons; ie: your son of 17 years is going on a camping trip with friends. It is his first experience deep in the woods and, of course, the first instinct of anyone is to explore the surroundings.

Being young and reckless, your son wanders too far afield and winds up lost in the woods.

What this training is focussed on is the flora and fauna of the region. The type of animals to trap and the type of plants/roots to gather are what is taught and so, your son, who is lost for a week is able to survive, knowing what is available around him.

Whether it is a desert or a boreal forest, an ice field or a river valley, there should be an emphasis placed on survival skills particular to the area where your children are growing up.

This training should be stressed as a main part of school and free to every student.

posted on Apr, 30 2007 @ 11:48 AM
Masqua, I agree with your comments but what's also important is that this programme helps to heal the disconnect from the land. Note that when the French were defeated, they were allowed to keep their religion, language, and customs. The Natives weren't given that luxury and through the residential school system they were forced into an assimilation process.

This school seems to encourage Aboriginal youth to find their place on the landscape. It really isn't that long since their people lived off the for them to find their way as a part of modern society, it's essential to first come back to their roots. To rip off somebody's quote: "Ya gotta know where ya bin to know where yer goin'"

Good posting, Masqua.

posted on Apr, 30 2007 @ 05:21 PM
Glad we agree, JC.

It's not just NA kids reconnecting with the land that I feel should be happening, though. Maybe what needs doing is that inner city kids of all backgrounds get this training in depth. It's what the story I posted here talks about, but there is a real need for ALL kids to be bush-smart.

Going camping is getting to be a fairly normal thing to do for young people and ATV's or dirt-bikes are getting these unexperienced kids deeper and deeper into wilderness areas. Most don't know how easy it is to get lost out there, but I do and, unless you know what you're doing, the chances of a small mishap becoming a fatality are p[retty good, let alone just not being able to find your way back.

Here's an example; I was part of a group of youngsters going on a 2 week canoe trip into the far north. The weather starting out was good and our guides were careful to tie orange tape at every fork in the river systems. All portages were also clearly marked right at the waters edge, where they would be easy to spot on the return journey. The problem was that it rained for days... really poured and the rivers rose dramatically.

All the tape was now under water and the party had to be evacuated by float plane.

Now, imagine if we hadn't had guides who knew the cabins in the area for shelter or had radios to contact the rescue teams and tell them where to find us.

A couple of dozen dead kids within weeks. That's why it's important that not only NA kids reconnect with the land... but ALL of our kids.

You're right, though... that it hasn't been that long since people lived off the land successfully. In fact, except for a relatively narrow band along the border with USA, people, for the most part, still live off the land much as they have done for thousands of years.

A good snowmobile and a Lee Enfield rifle does make it a tad easier to get through the long harsh winters though.

I'd be interested in hearing if any 14-19 year old ATS members would be willing to take a 14 week stint of survival training on Christian Island.

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