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Two triumphant youth | Image Source: Scott Duncan

For the first time in the 200 year shared history in the Gatineau Valley, history, indigenous and non-indigenous youth will join together to paddle along the Gatineau River in a powerful and ground-breaking show of solidarity between the two communities.

What Is It?

“Chimeda – We are paddling” is five Algonquin youth from Kitigan Zibi and five non-indigenous youth from the communities of Wakefield and Chelsea, Quebec paddling their shared watershed together, June 26 to July 1, 2015. They will meet with local elders, historians and environmental scientists to learn about their shared history, culture and river environment along the way. On July 1st they will be joined by other locals to paddle together to Victoria Island in Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day and underline the importance of true reconciliation. They will experience cross-cultural relationship building, water environment knowledge building, canoe skills and adventure!

“Chimeda – We are paddling” was inspired by the Journey of Nishiyuu 2013 and local Paddling for our Waters events in June 2013, and July 2014. Strong alliances between the Kitigan Zibi, La Pêche and Chelsea communities have been formed from these events and we now work together on local grassroots projects building cross-cultural alliances on shared goals.

Youth participating in a paddle safety session in Wakefield, QC | Image Source: Scott Duncan
Youth participating in a paddle safety session in Wakefield, QC | Image Source: Scott Duncan

We hope this trip will help build a new generation of intercultural leaders, who can forge new pathways for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. We envision similar trips – shared watersheds being paddled by indigenous and non-indigenous communities together – for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

Who are we?

“Chimeda – We are paddling” is Kitigan Zibi youth advocate Celine Whiteduck and Scott Duncan, Wakefield community organizer. It is supported by the Canadian Canoe Foundation (CCF), the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Research (CIER) and local canoe, history and environmental experts.

For more information, please contact:

Scott Duncan

Celine Whiteduck:
819 449 5092

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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