Sunday, June 7, 2015

Getting Reconnected in Moose Factory

I recently had the privilege of spending one week in Moose Factory to kick start their My Community App project. The My Community App project aims to celebrate the people, the land, and the history of the island through digital storytelling. So what that entailed was me travelling to the island equipped with some camera equipment to start the process. When everything is ready to go all the information will be accessible on an interactive website that functions as an app on your tablet and smartphone devices. People will be able to visit the site and learn about the stories from Moose Factory and its people through videos, photos, written stories, and maps.

What makes this project so special is that it just doesn't stop after we (Canadian Ecotourism Services) finish our contract, this project is a legacy project and the community members are given the training, the tools, and resources in order to carry it on and add new content for years to come. The community's Youth Centre is taking the lead to make this project happen! I had a wonderful time connecting with the staff at the Youth Centre and it was so great to experience the incredible work they are doing for Youth in the community.

The Youth Centre organized a traditional goose feast (sigabon) that I had the chance to be a part of
and take some video footage of.  It was so refreshing being in a community that values family, friends and traditions before anything else and witnessing the Elders, the young kids and everyone in between partaking in this event was amazing. I personally enjoyed when the Elders were delegating tasks to the younger generation to teach them everything from how to pluck and gut the geese properly to how to know exactly when the geese were finished cooking over the fire. They also prepared and roasted some delicious bannock over the fire and again had the kids involved with that.

The feast was held in a sabtuan, a large teepee constructed for gatherings and cooking. The smell inside was incredible and the community members were so excited to cook the geese this traditional style. The community still takes a traditional two week break each spring to head out to the bush to hunt for the spring geese. The community is literally a ghost town during this time. Most families prepare their geese roasting it in an oven so going back to preparing the geese the traditional style is a nice treat.

The Youth Centre is actively involved with teaching the Youth traditional activities to connect them to their culture. They have regular after school programming with activities such as drum making, beading, and they take part in a lot of events such as ice fishing, preparing fish in the sabtuan, and learning skills on the land. It's evident the engrained connection the people have to the land. Living on an island also has a lot of stories attached to that too - I can go on forever sharing some of the conversations that I had so I'll just have to refer you to check out their App to learn more about the community once it is up and running. The Community App is anticipated to be launched this August - so stay tuned for the announcement.

If you are interested in hearing more stories about the My Community App and my experience in Moose Factory contact