"First" Culture Camps
Today, we foster the transition to young adulthood in different ways but still teach traditional skills and stewardship to our youth. During land-based culture camps, we aim to connect students to the land with a mix of modern safety practices, together with the stories and values imparted by our elders.
Every fall, we organize a trip up the Dempster Highway to hunt caribou. Students from Robert Service School, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in staff and elders, and volunteers from the Canadian Rangers all come together to share and learn. The youth learn firearms safety, map reading and winter survival. There are also evening stories and games. Back in Dawson, they celebrate a successful hunt with a community feast and the remainder of the meat is shared among the elders.
At First Fish camp, young people spend a week camping in Moosehide where they learn how to catch, clean and smoke salmon. In accordance with tradition, the first salmon is presented to the elders. Following the success of these camps, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in has been organizing other camps.
Building on the excellent relationship between Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and Robert Service School, the First Hunt and First Moose camps have been developed into credit courses available to all students. Curriculum is also being developed for First Fish, First Trapper and Spring Youth Camps.
"By continuing to educate as many youth as possible, we believe we are helping to instill within them the value of stewardship and are thereby helping to ensure the future health of our furbearer resources."
Georgette McLeod, 2014
Alison Anderson defleshes a caribou hide, 2006.