This summer Métis youth from across the province participated in two virtual summer camp programs to teach them how to enjoy and live off the land.
The Métis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) summer Métis youth cultural camp, “Été”, ran from August 9 to 11, 2021 for kids in grade 10 to 12 and the “Métis Youth Rendezvous” on August 16-18 for youth in grades 7 to 9.
In past generations and still today, Métis culture and way of life includes a strong connection with the land. Living off the land and the practice of harvesting is an important component of Métis culture. During the camps, youth were taught skills to help them go out and enjoy the land:
- Fishing – although not able to be out on the lake themselves camp participants learned the skills, rules and safety precautions of fishing so they will be able to harvest in their own communities.
- Cultural Arts – The Métis people are well known for their floral beadwork, music, dance, finger woven sashes and other unique cultural arts. Camp participants learned the history of various arts practiced traditional crafts hands-on.
- Outdoor Survival – Camp participants got a basic overview of wilderness survival including fire building, water collection, shelter making, and gathering/preparing food.
- Camping at Home – Camp participants were provided with some camping equipment and received instruction to help them get outside and camp, even if it’s only in their own backyard
Camp participants were provided most of what they needed for the camp including fishing rods, a tackle box, a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trapping equipment and more!
“I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to do this,” said Brianna, one of the camp participants. “I’m so happy that I’m able to be here with all of you teaching us about so many different things that we wouldn’t normally be able to learn.”
“I found this really fun, really welcoming,” said David, another participant at the camp. “I enjoyed the teachings over the past three days and how [the MNO staff] were able to work around us being online. I really enjoyed it, and thank you for creating this.”
The MNO holds several youth camps like these throughout the year. The camps are normally held in person at locations throughout Ontario though they have shifted to virtual during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As we hopefully near the end of Covid-19 we look forward to holding these camps in-person soon!