Yá Thi Néné Youth Culture Camp
The Ya’thi Néné Land and Resource Office held its 1st Annual Athabasca Science and Culture Camp from July 24 to 31. This is the first of what is planned to be an annual event. This year’s camp took place near the Athabasca Sand Dunes Wilderness Park, adjacent to Fond du Lac Reserve on the south side of Lake Athabasca, with camps in the future to be rotated amongst the three Athabasca First Nation communities. At the camp, youth were educated on their cultural and traditional ways by Elders, including how to hunt, how to butcher meat, prepare moose, make dry meat, how to prepare hide, the importance of the Dene Drum, hand games, and more. The primary goal of the event was to raise awareness of culture and get youth interested in science-based careers (an example would be an Environmental Monitor). A Plant Botanist was invited to educate the students about the different rare species of plants on the Athabasca Sand Dunes and the importance of those plant species. Students learned about the scientific formation of the Athabasca Sand Dunes and the traditional stories from Elders of the formation of the Sand Dunes. A Fish Biologist taught the students how to dissect a fish and learned about the different parts of a fish. A second but also very important goal was to provide workshops on suicide prevention, anti-bullying and leadership skills and increase awareness of the supports available to help youth facing difficulties. Thirty students participated in the camp, with eighteen students from Fond du Lac, and four students each from Black Lake, Hatchet Lake, and Stony Rapids. Athabasca Basin Development is proud to have sponsored this event for $25,000.