The Healing Canoe Project has been inspired by a late Master Canoe Carver, who dedicated his life to canoe carving. He inspired local youth to compete in traditional canoe racing by gifting his canoes and sharing his knowledge.
The Healing Canoe Project has two main goals. The first is to teach the community and youth about our local Coast Salish traditions, by using historic tools, ancestral techniques, traditional protocols, and ceremonies.
The second goal is to honor what the elders have given us by celebrating and promoting the canoe culture. I believe we can reconnect families back to the local waters, for water is life.
In honor of my ancestors’ teachings, I wish to revisit the tradition of “canoe currency” by reawakening the traditional canoe culture and inspiring the community to gift canoes to local families and youth at risk.
The central teaching of the Healing Canoe Program is that everything we do can contribute to building healthy relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
The process of carving the canoe will provide many opportunities to share stories of my own learning journey and the teachings I received from my late teacher.
Importantly, the program will include activities that help participants develop their own relationships with cedar, with traditional Coast Salish culture, and with themselves and each other.
The Healing Canoe Program will build on the Cedar Curriculum, a set of resources centered on Coast Salish values and teachings developed by the Gabriola land-based learning project for use by classroom teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 7.