Eagles Nest Summer Culture Camp
In 2021, Fusion Maintenance Group was able to raise $15,000 to provide funding for the Eagle's Nest summer camps. Eagle's nest was able to host 12 culture camps through out the summer months for the youth and children in their care. It provided the children and youth the opportunity to experience and participate with traditional dancers and singers as well as connecting the female youth with female drummers as most traditional practices are males only. Also resource teachers were brought in to teach the youth about the drum and they were given the opportunity to make their own. The additional funding also helped to replace some of the aging camp equipment such as archery equipment and the purchase of additional craft supplies. A huge thank you to our sponsors listed below.
President Ryan Kinequon's Experience at Culture Camp
With the Summer now past and the winter weather upon us, I would like to reflect on the successes of the campaign we sought out to support. I had the honor to participate in a days events for one of the groups in camp. Myself and a Fusion team member showed up in the morning shortly after the kids finished breakfast. The location of the camp was in a beautiful remote clearing, located in Waskesiu national park. We pulled into a remote clearing with forest surrounding this meadow, with a well built log outside kitchen, 2 tipi’s and a few camp tents. There was evidence of outside activities scattered about, and the lingering smell of cooked food in the air. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the camp supervisors, project manager and of course the kids. Our greetings by the children were very welcoming, polite and curious. This ambitious group kids consisted of all ages ranging from 8 to 15 years of age. Many of the children came up to us to introduce themselves and some too shy. After introductions we were promptly lead away from the kitchen to the Tipi that were standing off to the side of the meadow. Here they showed in pride, the Tipi’s they helped set up and a play by play on how they accomplished this. It was very interesting to see the passion they exhibited and the details they conversed. They told us that an Elder came yesterday and showed them how to construct such a monumental structure, the ceremonial purpose of dwelling and the historical significance it played to many of the children’s ancestors. During the day of construction, they learned how to build dream catchers using the Tipi as classrooms. While we had discussions that were focused on the past days events, the whole group had eventually made their way to us and was quickly warming up to our presents.
The main event of the day was going to a local ranch where they had racing horses. This is where the mood really elevated and the excitement of the kids were beyond comprehension. We partnered up in groups of 2 along with a pick of any horse of our choice that was tethered to a hitching post. We learned how to prepare the horse for a saddle by brushing it down, donned a saddle blanket, then saddle. The staff taught the kids how to tension and tie the cinch of the saddle and to calm the horse while doing so. Paint was brought out to us by the staff and we started to paint the horses with any design we chose. My partner was the youngest boy of the group, however was the most outgoing and one of the biggest voices of all. His attention was distracted by the other farm animals in the pens particularly the goats. When he was approached by a supervisor and questioned as to why he wasn’t helping me, his response was, “ I don’t need to do that! He’s doing all my dirty work, and he likes it! It’s a win win for both of us!” We all had a good laugh about that. After painting the horses, the children got onto their horses and away they went for a slow walk to the training corral where they learned how to ride!
We said our good-byes to the kids and staff and thanked them for allowing us to participate in their day. We were bombarded with many questions as to why we were leaving and if we could come and see them soon. We had the chance to speak with the program manager afterwards, and was informed that most of the children there only get to see the ENYR staff, their house mom (house mom is typically a female employee whom they show a lot of respect too), and that’s it. We were told that many of the children are under protective order and their interaction with public is very limited due to their current home life situations. Of course this was heart wrenching for any parent to hear.
The reason why we do this….
Our involvement is meant to better the lives of all Nations, to not only co-exist but to thrive as unified people who call Canada Home. As both nations of Canada, we all have a lot of learning, listening, teaching, and healing to do. It is our responsibility as individuals, companies, and Canadians to ensure our Indigenous people learn traditional ways so their cultural heritage is not lost. WE ARE the people of now that will create a legacy that this country needs and wants. WE ARE the era that will be marked in history as having the chance to charge social reform to unite both Nations in harmonic unity, make a change in Canadian history, and reconcile the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. As an inspired company of change, along with you our sponsors, we asked for our gratis to be used to strengthen traditional Indigenous culture and much-needed traditional teachings only offered by elders, educational role models, and mentors. We contributed a helpful donation to ensure our children have access to people, materials, and programs necessary to enrich these childrens lives, allowing them to learn, listen and heal.
This year we set out a goal to supported the current Eagle’s Nest program and offer a lifetime of memories for these children; while understanding the need for connection with traditional cultures and teachings. Speaking from experience, as young indigenous child, I was fortunate enough to have had a mentor in my life that offered traditional teachings, healing, and a cultural angle on the modern world. Having a mentor as a young child had a positive impact on my life, and my goal is to reciprocate this invaluable experience for Indigenous children. I feel together we have succeeded in helping bring joy to all the kids who attended the camp and hope to continue doing so in the future. A huge thank you to Eagles Nest Youth Ranch for allowing us to participate and utilizing the funds to achieve our goals, also to our supporters whom are passionate about improving the lives of Indigenous children.