chippewas of the thames logoMUNCEY, ON (Friday, August 26, 2016)–The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, are honouring their youth and the master builder who donated his time and knowledge to build a big canoe. The community is celebrating by having a feast and ceremony to pay respect for the materials used in the building and to thank the participating organization involved in the project.

The Chippewa’s ‘Big Canoe’ was built by youth this past winter through the help of Ontario Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport Cara Program in collaboration with Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario. The Community Aboriginal Recreation Activators (CARA) Program aims to enhance the quality of life for First Nation’s communities through sport and recreation opportunities. The Community Recreation Activator promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyles in their community in a flexible manner that addresses each community’s specific needs.  Through partnerships with community based organizations that provide health and social programs, services and facilities, the CARA program is able to provide programming that will have a positive and long lasting impact on Aboriginal participation in sport and recreation.

“This project was tailored to meet the communities identified priority of youth engagement and mentorship by enabling youth to learn from a master craftsman to learn the importance of team and healthy lifestyle development,” states Carlyn Johnston, CARA activator, “it’s an investment in our youth for them to make a commitment to a task and then seeing the rewards of their hard work celebrated spiritually and culturally by the community.”

The program began as a result of the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario’s 2 year development plan for the 2017 NAIG Games coming to Toronto next summer. The plan was to introduce canoe building projects in 4 communities to promote the Canoe/Kayak team as well as the importance of the canoe in First Nations history.  The project has been a success in Chippewas of the Thames and is heading to Aamjiwnaang this September.

Chippewas of the Thames is dedicated to developing youth programing and working with organizations that enhance healthy lifestyles in a way that is tailored to the distinct cultural needs identified by the community.

Event begins at 5:00 p.m. on August 30, 2016, with an opening prayer at the Chippewas of the Thames Community Centre.

For more information, contact Chief Leslee White-Eye or Carlyn Johnston, Cara Program Lead by calling 519-289-5555, or 519-870-1496