One of the activities Justine Noah looks forward to the most leading up the Sheshatshiu Innu Nation's annual Gathering at Gull Island is drinking the water.
"The water tastes different than tap water.… It came from real land, out up here in the country, and it's spring water and it's very good and healthy for the Innu people," she said from her campsite at Gull Island.
"My family, we all drink that water, all my daughters and grandchildren, and they never got sick."
Drinking the fresh water is just one of the several ways the Innu recharge at the celebration as they disconnect from technology and spend time reuniting with the family, elders and the land.
My wife said the only thing we didn't bring is the kitchen sink. - Randy Jarvis
The Gathering officially started Monday and ends Sunday.
"I find it really peaceful here," said Greg Nuna. "Kids can play with other kids and adults can go over to another tent and have tea. We got elders that are talking to the youngsters and trying to learn from them as much as we can."
During the trip Nuna is passing down his knowledge to his foster child. He said they go out to collect berries and he shows him how to snare a rabbit and clean it properly.
His foster child said his favourite part of the trip is hanging out with his friends and being in the boat with Nuna.
"We hardly get together in the year because we have so much extended family to look after … but here we are only a few steps away."
Nuna also said it is a time to reflect on past tragedy and heal.
He said he notices a lot of people in the community with diabetes, especially in some of the elderly. He also is concerned about alcoholism and some of the substance abuse issues in the community.
"It's a wonderful thing to learn from it but we still have a long ways yet to go to heal ourselves, to become a better community and to work together towards a common goal of helping each other," he said.
Randy Jarvis and his family have been attending the Gathering for the past five years so as seasoned attendees of the event, he knows exactly what to bring.
"I love Christmas so I love to put out Christmas lights," chuckled Jarvis.
"My wife said the only thing we didn't bring is the kitchen sink."
In order to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, attendees were screened for symptoms before entering, and contact information was recorded for tracing purposes. People were asked to use a mask and practise physical distancing outside their tent, and vendors were not permitted this year.
Jarvis said it's been a stressful few months for everyone with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's refreshing to spend time outdoors with family and friends.
"The freedom for the kids … they get to go out and walk around with no fears and they get to meet lots of their friends outside of areas they wouldn't even be when they are back in the community.
"When you are up here it seems like there are no worries."