Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Youth Leading the Way in River Protection and Monitoring

by pmnationtalk on July 28, 2016182 Views

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Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Youth Leading the Way in River Protection and Monitoring

Sharon Creek Conservation Area, Delaware, ON — July 28, 2016

Today, Chippewas of the Thames is proud to launch and name Chippewa’s ‘Big Canoe’ built by youth this past winter through the help of Ontario Aboriginal Sport & Wellness program in collaboration with

Chippewa’s youth program. This is one of two canoes built by youth in the community this past year. The launch and naming coincides with a stewardship program that connects youth to Deshkan Ziibiing (also known as Thames River) and communities while learning valuable skills to keep our waterways clean, healthy and full of life.

The group call themselves the Antler River Guardians from the 4 Directions and are made up of two leaders and four youth representing four First Nations as part of a First Nation youth stewardship program that began in 2015. First Nation youth receive extensive training including wilderness first aid, canoeing, water quality monitoring, GPS, and communications. Equally important is the Indigenous Traditional Knowledge (TEK) the youth are receiving as they canoe down the river to record species at risk information and erosion sites.

“The river is steeped in cultural and spiritual significance to our people. We are Anishinaabek Ojibwe committed to ensuring an environmentally-sound habitat for the four-leggeds, crawlers, flyers, swimmers and plant life that call Deshkan Ziibiing home. This program supports our efforts significantly,” states Chief Leslee White-Eye, “it’s an investment in our youth to maintain TEK into the future.”

The stewardship program began as a result of partnerships formed by the Thames River Clear Water Revival Steering Committee & First Nation Engagement Committee and funding provided by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The committee is a long-term partnership initiative that is committed to a healthy and vital Thames River. It brings together all levels of government, Conservation Authorities, First Nations and the local community including Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.

Chippewas of the Thames is dedicated to developing a watershed stewardship strategy in partnership with neighbouring First Nations, organizations and municipalities, including the City of London, to address river health concerns such as the phosphorous that helps to feed massive algae blooms in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.

Event begins at 11:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Chief Leslee White-Eye or Mary Alikakos, Senior Environment Officer by calling 519-289-5555.

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