Culture coordinator delivers on land learning opportunities

·2 min read

Saulteau First Nation Culture Coordinator is working to help locals connect to the land and their culture.

Tylene Paquette believes if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.

"I live it, it's my life. I love being out on the land and connecting with others. I'm honoured when anyone can come out and experience the beauty and feel like they belong," said Paquette.

Paquette also runs and participates in the Saulteau Pow Wow Dance group and teaches regalia making. Along with many community members, Paquette and her children spend a good portion of the summer attending and hosting round dances and pow wows.

She is based out of the New Beginnings house in the community, where she has fashioned a dry meat rack for members to participate and learn about dry meat processing and making.

Three weeks ago, Paquette led her group of 15 berry enthusiasts into the wild and collected several gallons of the tasty treat.

The group shared much laughter and stories, and got quite a few scrapes and bruises, during their trek to find huckleberries.

Paquette says picking huckleberries is one of her favourite activities because it reminds her of when she was a child following her dad while he was logging.

"One time, I was halfway up a hill to pick, my dad called to me softly from below and told me to come back. When I got to the bottom, he pointed up, and at the top of the hill was a big black bear, just waking up, with a purple tongue from all the huckleberries."

Paquette's group went picking towards Boulder Creek, between Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.

Local First Nations people traditionally collected huckleberries for use as food or traditional medicine. The berries were used to treat aches and pains and treat fevers.

Last week at Carbon Lake for Saulteau First Nations' Culture Camp, Paquette led a drum-making workshop.

She says it was the best camp in a long time, with lots of first-timers taking in the teachings and the beauty of the land.

Other adventures taken in during the four-day camp included a hike to see the dinosaur tracks up Battleship Mountain, how to erect a tipi, a dry meat-making demo, and kayaking lessons.

With fall fast approaching, Paquette has set her sights on food preserving, hunting, and preparing for winter.

In the future, she hopes to host a womans' hunting camp to teach meat processing, skinning, hide tanning, and canning.

"When we work together, we connect to the land and

Kirsta Lindstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,