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Culture, tradition, history passed on to next generation

Halfway River First Nation cultural camps highlight need to keep heritage alive

Remembering history is important to every culture.

No matter what your background might be, traditions, even language, can quickly disappear from generation to generation.

Elders and knowledge keepers with the Halfway River First Nation are hoping that doesn't happen to their community.

Again, this summer, the HRFN is holding what it's calling cultural camps, outings meant to pass on knowledge to the young.

Volunteers, like Jeff Metecheah, teach kids traditional methods of hunting and fishing and ways to live off the land.

“When we get the game, we process the meat and put food away for the winter.”

“I guess we have about 100 people this year coming and going including some visiting from other communities,” said Metecheah, one of the driving forces behind the idea.

One of the more popular meats is moose.

“We also have elk and deer. We've got some really nice buck deer, so far. I think they've been shooting some beaver too and snaring rabbits for the elders.”

“We're trappers, as well,” he added.

What's unique about the concept is that there's no motorized vehicles.

“It's a traditional camp. We use horses.”

Besides its founding heritage, the area also has a long-standing history of cattle ranching dating back almost 75 years.

“These kids here, they love this. That's why we're still here. They don't want to go home,” Metecheah said.

Sixteen-year-old Ryder Achla loves everything about the camp.

“I love the hunting part. We provide for the camp."

“It's really all about encouraging our future generations to stay with the land,” said Metecheah, something he hopes these kids will carry on.

“My late uncle Bernie, he saved this area for us, and that's why we're here today.”

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