Culture is a source of community resilience and a central mechanism for engagement
All of the communities decided to focus on paddle carving as this would allow youth to explore their environment (including hazards) from the water. Paddles carry significant symbolism for safety and security and are part of almost every Indigenous culture.
The importance of this cultural craft component as part of the overall emergency planning cannot be overemphasized. Carving brought together multiple generations, sharing of stories, journeys of healing and continuous learning. It also provided the youth with transferable skills showing opportunities for making a living based on traditional skills.
As part of this program we were fortunate to engage some renowned master carvers and positive role models such as Qaamina Hunter of the Ahousaht Nation and Wes Nahanee of the Squamish Nation. In Ucluluet, Fire Chief Jay Millar taught the youth about carving and the historic significance of this craft for safety.
Watch and listen as participants talk about their paddle carving experience: