Participants learned how to prep fish at the 2021 Water Stewardship Gathering in Kakisa. Kat Thomas/Ecology North
A water stewardship gathering in Kakisa, hosted by Ecology North, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation, has extended its application deadline to Monday, August 8.
Youth aged 18-30 can attend the four-day gathering on August 26-29 for free, with transportation costs from Yellowknife to Kakisa covered. Each year, the event aims to take about 20 participants.
The gathering supports the NWT government’s action plan to “create awareness and understanding surrounding different water stewardship issues, opportunities and challenges that face the Northwest Territories” according to Brandon Pludwinski, Ecology North’s environmental education project officer.
This year, the theme is “multiple perspectives of water,” which will include “traditional perspectives of water with Elders and guardians leading discussions and activities” both on the land and in the water. Speakers include researchers, students, Indigenous leaders, elders, and members of the territorial government.
“A lot of [the theme choice] comes from the recent climate changes that we’re seeing in the North, specifically flooding,” said Pludwinski.
“Water is this element and force that is both something that can give life and is the essence of all of that, but also something that can take life away and cause destruction so quickly and so freely. When we’re talking about things like water stewardship, it’s important to really understand the full scale of water.
“The hope with the theme of multiple perspectives of water is to then be able to say: ‘If we’re going to protect the water, if we’re going to start thinking about the water, if we’re going to engage with the water, then we really have to understand the full scope of what water can do.'”
Pludwinski said the program aims to inspire youth to do something – “be it big or be it small” – to engage with water stewardship in their home communities. This, he said, was a big success from last year’s gathering, which also took place in Kakisa.
He says a combination of traditional and scientific knowledge is crucial to understanding our environment.
“Each knowledge system offers a lot of different learning. To try to separate them… A lot of things are lost,” said Pludwinski.
“It’s really important to find a way that we can weave them together and draw on the benefits of both of them, in order to get a better perspective and understanding of water – and water stewardship as well.”
There are still spaces available for the gathering. Applications can be submitted via an online form.