CHIMEDA 2019- A Reflection on Paddling Together
FROM JP LONGBOAT:
I joined the Chimeda Sunday morning, on the second day where we were to start out from Wakefield and paddle to Chelsea. Getting my kayak ready and coming into the moment with the river, who has been high and swift for most of the Spring, was beautiful. It was amazing to see those canoes coming around the bend in the fast moving river, making their way across the current, and gathering at the shoreline to meet up with the larger group for the final leg to Chelsea, another three hour paddle. Nine youth from KZ (Kitigan Zibi) balanced nine youth from Chelsea to make up the centre of the participants. I came along to support Celine Whiteduck, co-organizer of Chimeda, who through this annual event, works with these Indigenous youth to provide cultural experiences and knowledge sharing. It was wonderful to feel the beauty and power of the Tenagadino Sipi (Gatineau River). This experience has inspired me to journey the full route and travel all the way to where the river meets with the Kichi Sipi (Ottawa River).
Because of my past with the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, I can’t help but consider those urban-based Indigenous youth who would also benefit from being on the water. Perhaps this presents a new future opportunity for Circadia Indigena and Chimeda!
IMAGES: JP Longboat