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Passing on the Knowledge

Together, we teach our children the Eeyou way of life. The Youth and Cultural Departments have been organizing canoe expeditions and snowshoe walks for more than twenty years.

Five people walking on winter trail wearing snowshoes and pulling toboggans

Winter snowshoe expedition 2005.


The goal? It’s to remember how the old people lived and continue on that way with the youth.  It’s to teach young people, to let the youngsters know how their ancestors lived on the land. -James Shashaweskum, former guide for the youth canoe and snowshoe expeditions.

Three men wearing caps and two women at a picnic table

Guides James Shashaweskum and John Mistacheesick on the river, 2005.

When former guide John Mistacheesick was 5, he was learning to steer the canoe.  He remembers that once his father’s paddle broke while they were in the rapids so was up to him steer them across to shore.

When guiding, John taught the kids on the summer and winter youth trips much the way his father did, the traditional way:

 I just keep telling the stories.

Young people have learned a lot from these trips, the guides say, and they don’t forget those things.  They also have a good time and they finish the trips with a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

This map, a satellite image of the coast near Wemindji, shows the route walked with a blue line.

Winter walk 2018. Blue line shows the path taken by walkers. Map: Genevieve Reid and Anthony Georgekish, 2018.