Thirteen Whati youth are embarking on a ten day voyage as part of the Whati Justice Boat Program.
Each year Whati youth between the ages of 8 and 19 participate in the program to learn about on the land living and the graves of their ancestors.
Mary Anne Jeremick’ca , Whati Justice Coordinator at the Tlicho Government has been facilitating the program since 2003.
My dad asked me to with him. A part of the program would be that I work with the students. That’s when I fell in love with the program and decided that whenever they ask me if I could participate, [I would get involved].
Starting today, participants will travel from Whati in boats to the Whati Lake.
During their travels the participants will stop at gravesites to clean them, say prayers and tell stories. They will also learn about living on the land and how to hunt.
Students will learn where the gravesite are and whose family is buried there. When we are going in between the gravesites, the students will learn which area is good for fishing, woodland caribou or beaver.
On August 24th Jeremick’ca says, communities members from Whati will be able to join the participants at the Old Village at the end of Lake Whati and partake in a spiritual gathering.
Usually about 15 to 20 boats will meet us at the Old Village.
Jeremick’ca says the program is gaining buzz with people from communities across the NWT asking for their children to be able to participate.
The youth will return from their trip on Wednesday, August 29th.