In 2015, community organizers from Wakefield/Chelsea, Québec and Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, the Canadian Canoe Federation (CCF), and the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) embarked on a cross-cultural, environmental education expedition. From June 27th to July 1st, 2015, a group of 12 youth – half Aboriginal and half non-Aboriginal – paddled down the Gatineau River ending their journey in Ottawa, Ontario on Canada Day. This trip, fuelled by the spirit of collaboration in two communities, surpassed all expectations.

The Gatineau watershed was the classroom for cultural, historical and environmental education. Elders, farmers of settler origin, environmental experts and canoeists collaborated to offer formal and informal learning throughout the trip. The trip was safe and fun. The activities cultivated an understanding of watershed health and sustainability. The participants improved their wilderness and canoeing skills. The project was successful in bringing together traditional, scientific and environmental perspectives. While we imagined that the youth on the trip would learn about each other and connect as individuals, we did not anticipate how interested the young people would be in getting to know each other, and how significant these connections would remain at the conclusion of the trip.

The goal in 2017 will be to complete this experience again between June 25th and July 1.  The goal is connecting youth paddlers and interested crews and youth leaders should contact Celine Whiteduck to express interest in, and to make arrangement to paddle with this big canoe journey.


for further info please contact Celine Whiteduck <>