August 20th to 25th, four Indigenous and four non-Indigenous youth took part in Neechi Camp at Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre (SSSC). At the same time, SSSC was hosting an all ages family camp called “Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth.” The Neechi campers were fortunate to be included in all the activities that Mamawe Ota Askihk offered, while sleeping in their own little tent village and building friendships amongst themselves and with the whole community of children, youth and adults who were gathered for the week at SSSC.
The photos included here, show a lot of what we did, but there were even more things that didn’t make it into pictures, like scavenger hunt, screen printing on t-shirts, cooking walleye over a fire, bun making, dehydrating apples, making drum sticks for our drums, a teaching by an elder finding comparisons in the Bible to the Seven Sacred Teachings, chopping and stripping young trees to build a smoker from branches and tarps, smoking beef and salmon, tending the fire by the smoker and adding hot coals to the smoker as needed, medicine picking (tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweet grass), washing and hanging tobacco leaves to dry, participating in a sweat lodge ceremony, creating a frisbee golf course for the Centre, playing outdoor games including learning Indian baseball from Elder Stan McKay, along with a teaching about the benefits of active community games that can be played with things you have on hand like a ball made from a pair of socks and a shoelace, a stick from the woods as a bat, and jackets put down as bases. The youth found time to connect and build friendships while doing planned activities and creating their own fun. We hope the friendships made, teachings learned, and new activities tried will make a difference in their lives, and in our journey as a community towards reconciliation!