Junior Mark Poulin

” Living in Fort McKay, I was looking for ways to learn more about Aboriginal culture. Mel encouraged me to apply for the AWAKE winter camp, and I ended up spending a ton of time this season out on the trapline. We take trucks as far as we can, then use snowmobiles to drive the rest of the way to the cabin. It’s in a really beautiful area in Chelsea Lake with a considerable trapline that extends from the lake all the way to the thick bush. We had a successful season and caught quite a bit. A big part of the camp is about teaching respect for the animals and making sure they don’t suffer. We respectfully put down the animals we catch, then take them back to the cabin to salvage their fur and clean the meat. Participants in the camp learn to use every part of the animal for food, furs or bait. They learn valuable hunting skills, they’re immersed in the culture, and it inspires them to learn more about their roots. I think the AWAKE camps are really important for the community. The highlight of the season for me was catching a massive lynx! We are going to use some of the furs to create traditional dancing wear for my son. “