2016 ELI Gathering
2016 ELI Gathering – Little Big Lake, Alberta
August 3 – 7
This summer marked the Third Annual ELI Gathering held at Little Big Lake in Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation’s traditional territory. In order to save on costs and streamline efforts, it was decided to combine the annual Girls & Boys Camp with the ELI Gathering. Sekweha hosted the camp which was open to youth, Elders, community members, and SCI partners. Everyone took part in activities which included arts and crafts, canoeing, a horseshoe tournament, storytelling, and berry picking. This was an opportunity for youth to get back to basics and leave their cell phones at home: “It’s very calm and peaceful at camp. We get better attention from the youth because of there are no electronics allowed and they communicate with each other,” said Norma Black, Community Coordinator for Sekweha.
The camp is also an opportunity for youth to experience “Walking in Two Worlds”, which is an integral component of ELI. Elder Agnes showed the youth where to find traditional plants, and explained the medicinal properties of rat root, which can cure a sore throat. Each of the youth were given rat root to take home with them. Another popular activity was arts and crafts with RCMP officer and Sekweha Board Member Justin Robertson, who showed the youth how to carve earrings made of antler.
The ELI Gathering was a chance for youth to share their ideas about next year’s Sekweha programming and ELI Gathering. Some ideas included scavenger hunts, an obstacle course and making blueberry jam. When asked what they liked best about the gathering, here is what the youth had to say:
Jake: “Horseshoes and boating”
Evanna and Emma: “Learning new things like arts & crafts”
Lorissa: “Playing games, picking blueberries, art & crafts, sitting by the fire telling scary stories”
John: “I love being in the bush – it reminds me of being on the trap line with my Grandpa”
Louie: “Being outdoors, fishing and canoeing”