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Culture is a source of community resilience and a central mechanism for engagement

Culture is a lifeline that keeps communities together and is central to community resilience. Cultural craft is a core component of the “Preparing our Home” program.

Renowned Ahousaht carver Qaamina Hunter teaches Ahousaht youth about his healing journey through carving. Photo credit Lily Yumagulova

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.

Lil’wat Youth present their paddles to the community during workshop celebration. Photo credit Lily Yumagulova

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.

Curve Lake Youth Council members carving paddles as part of the workshop. Photo credit Lily Yumagulova

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 Fire Chief Jay Millar teach about traditional Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ Nation paddles

Fire chief Jay Millar teaches Ucluluet youth about traditional paddle carving techniques. Photo credit Lily Yumagulova


Watch and listen as participants talk about their paddle carving experience: