Antler River Guardians from the 4 Directions launch Thames River Canoe Trip (August 10, 2016)
The Antler River Guardians from the 4 Directions are going on a canoe trip August 15 – 17, to visit First Nations located on the Thames River and collect data, pictures and stories along their journey.
The Guardians, who are all from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, are participating in the Thames River Clear Water Revival’s (TRCWR) First Nation Youth Stewardship Program. Over the summer, the two leaders and four youth are gaining perspective in both Western Science and Indigenous Traditional Knowledge, as well as learning about the spiritual and cultural significance of the Thames River.
The Guardians have received extensive training including wilderness first aid, canoeing, health & safety, GPS, water quality monitoring, species at risk, social media and communications. The team’s activities include:
- Helping Conservation Authority staff use GPS to model the river bed
- Organizing a “Big Canoe” paddle for community leaders
- Learning about traditional teachings, drumming, medicinal plants and treaties
- Assisting with wetland restoration projects
- Holding a Unity Paddle with other youth groups
The goal of the program is to engage First Nations youth and help them learn about and make a connection with the Thames and the communities, both First Nations and non-First Nations, along the river. The TRCWR’s First Nations Engagement Committee launched the program in 2015, with funding from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The four First Nations involved in the committee are:
- Aamjiwnaang First Nation
- Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation)
- Caldwell First Nation
- Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
In kind support is provided by the participating First Nations, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.
The TRCWR is committed to a healthy and vital Thames River, which will ultimately benefit Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. The TRCWR brings together all levels of government, Conservation Authorities, First Nations and the local community to achieve this common goal.
Contact: Shaylene Stone, Antler River Guardians from the 4 Directions