The partnership between iEmergence and Mishkeegogamang First Nation has continued to grow and evolve.
Over the past few years, the Mishkeegogamang community in Ontario has been hard at work developing community-based health and healing initiatives that are having a very positive effect on community well-being. This year, iEmergence’s Mish Adventures program was able to partner with these initiatives in unique ways to create spaces for kids and youth throughout the summer.
For the second year, we began our summer by taking youth from the Mish Adventures program to join the leadership of iEmergence’s Tāpākōmitowin gathering from July 3 to 7 in Saskatchewan. Seven youth joined us for two days of orientation and five days of camp. During orientation, the youth helped to set up five tipis, cook tents and cook fires, as well as to create a space for the sacred fire we all lit together before camp participants arrived. Once the camp began, the youth led kids groups to various activities, which included taking medicine walks, scraping moose hide, riding horseback, picking berries and playing and on-the-land games. It was incredible to witness the strength of leadership each of them brought and heartwarming to see spaces for intergenerational learning emerge. We look forward to continuing to create these spaces for more youth in the future.
From July 11 to 14, Mish Adventures ran youth leadership activities in Mishkeegogamang. We were grateful to again have youth from Saskatchewan’s Tāpākōmitowin gathering come and join the leadership of Mish Adventures. Our time with the youth included traditional teachings, swimming, arts, games and canoeing. We also used this time to invite youth to participate in the leadership of the following week’s programming for younger children.
More than 100 kids showed up throughout the week of July 17 to 21 to join in the activities at Kids Camp. As always, the youth were vital in creating this space for their younger peers and contributed in so many ways to its success. A special highlight of Kids Camp was the joint celebration of Treaty Day with the rest of the community that was full of laughter, games and food.
This year’s theme at both Tāpākōmitowin and Mish Adventures was the migizi, or eagle, a symbol and teacher of love, one of the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe. The logo was created by a youth from Mishkeegogamang in honour of the late Diana Bottle, a dearly loved Elder of the community who was a strong supporter of Mish Adventures.
For Mish Adventures’ team of co-directors, a highlight of our time in Mishkeegogamang was returning to a beautiful beachfront site by a boat that was masterfully navigated by a young person we have known since he was seven. Community partners had shown us the peaceful site almost seven years earlier and shared their dream of it becoming a healing space. This time, the beachfront was a bustle of activity as the Mino Biimaadiizowin Prevention Team brought that dream to life preparing to host their first family healing camp. It is always an honour to see such spaces emerge, and we look forward with anticipation to the ways iEmergence and Mishkeegogamang First Nation can continue to collaborate together to create healing land-based spaces for youth and children.