Since the beginning of
this Inuit knowledge project, elders have expressed
their desire that the collected TEK be shared with
youth from the community. Organizing an elder-youth
camp that would take place at a traditional geese
hunting location came up as one meaningful way to
satisfy this desire. The idea of organizing the camp
received great support from the community.
A total of 17 participants attended the camp that took
place at Ikpiugalik (Bylot Island) from 10 June to 17 June
2006. Among the participants, 5 were elders/hunters, 10
youth, 1 interpreter, and 1 researcher (Catherine A. Gagnon).
Researcher Dominique Berteaux also visited the camp twice.
The objectives that guided the project were to:
- encourage the transmission and practice of traditional knowledge related to geese and fox, but also to other components of the environment;
- encourage youth to practice and maintain their language;
- provide meaningful educational experiences through exchanges between elders and youth;
- provide an occasion for meaningful exchanges between elders, youth, scientists and Parks Canada staff. All of whom have various roles to play in the understanding and preservation of the ecological integrity of the local environment;
- document and communicate knowledge of geese, foxes and the local environment.
Over the week, daily activities included geese and seal
hunting trips, goose egg-picking expeditions, visit to a
research camp, visit by park wardens to discuss Parks Canada
history and mandate, visit to the Nunguvik archaeological
site, walks, storytelling and sharing of knowledge about
old geese and seal hunting techniques, old fox trapping
techniques, traditional survival skills, healing and coping
strategies. Youth were also taught how to prepare seal meat
for caches, and assisted to goose skinning by an elder.
Other activities included the daily tasks surrounding camp
maintenance: fetching water, cooking traditional food (boiled
seal, geese and eggs), preparing bannock, taking care of
wastes, preparing skidoos and qamutiks for daily expeditions,
filling Coleman stoves with gas. Youth were encouraged to
participate to all these activities. Other pastime activities
included playing cards, a scavenger hunt, constructing a
grub box for carrying eggs, singing, playing and listening
to fiddle and accordion (for a full report on the camp,
please contact C.
Gagnon or D.
Berteaux ). The camp also provided researchers with
an opportunity to discuss informally with the elders/hunters
about some of the findings of the Inuit knowledge project.