“Never have I ever…HUNTED!”
As the word ‘hunted’ leaves one youth’s lips a flurry of commotion livens the room—youth are racing to find a spot on a chair, so as not to be the last person standing.
If you’ve ever played the game ‘Never Have I Ever’ you would know that the game is to try to find out more about the people playing the game. One person begins the game by stating something they’ve never done, but something they believe almost everyone else playing the game has done. If you have done the thing previously stated, you have to stand up and run to an empty chair. If there are no empty chairs you become the person in the middle that has to state something you’ve never done. And so, the game continues. In this case, “Never have I ever hunted” had every Indigenous youth gathered at the Fisher River youth cabin in a frenzy to find a spot on a new chair.
Before sharing games with each other, the Indigenous youth coming from various communities across Manitoba engaged in an afternoon of elder teachings, eating, ice fishing, and snowmobiling all while exchanging knowledge and fits of laughter.
Some traveled with Food Matters Manitoba staff from their high school in Selkirk to meet others from Fisher River and Peguis at their youth cabin. The day began with icebreakers that gave the youth opportunity to talk about their home communities, education, and different extracurricular activities they were involved in.
This left one youth curious, “I will ask more questions about my culture and learn more stories about the past.”
While listening to youth from communities different than their own, eyes were wide at the possibilities of bringing different ideas back to their schools and communities at the end of the day.
Following the icebreakers and conversations, the group was offered teachings from a Fisher River Elder, Steve. Steve spoke of taking care of yourself and your community through food. He spoke of the way in which growing and harvesting food has changed in his lifetime and encouraged the youth to try to eat good food, while still accepting that eating for pleasure, like when eating treats, is sometimes inevitable.
After the Elder teachings and sharing a meal, the youth headed out onto the river for an afternoon of ice fishing. The youth were brave in the cold, patient for the fish (or lack thereof), and gentle when it came to meeting new people and learning about each other. Although the youth’s rods may have come up empty, their experiences were rich in new friendships and teachings that extended across nations and communities.
Photos and Story By: Rebecca Black, Digital Communications Intern, Food Matters Manitoba
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