The L.E.A.F. Initiative is a Commonwell program to support capacity, resiliency and growth in the communities we call home.

The TRACKS tipi – A space where Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth build relationships

2505 Pioneer Rd. PeterboroughK9J 6Y1

Target Completion Date: September 30, 2022

What is this project about?

In 2021, TRACKS (Trent Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge & Science) Youth Program, in collaboration with Camp Kawartha, and local Indigenous Knowledge Holders erected a tipi at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre. The space offers Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth the opportunity to explore the intersections of Indigenous and Western STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math), to build relationships with each other and with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Holders, and to engage in barrier-free (financially accessible and inclusive) opportunities to learn in an outdoor environment in a hands-on, interactive way.

Currently, the space does not have seating and requires improvements to its access pathway to make it more accessible to participants. Funding for this project would support the development of benches made by an Indigenous craftsperson, the development of a proper wood shed (we are currently hand-building a temporary fixture) for wood to be easily accessed when hosting fires at the space, as well as accessibility updates to the pathway that connects the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre parking lot to the space.

Additionally funding for this project will provide resourcing for TRACKS Youth Program staff to facilitate barrier-free programming in 2022. One of the TRACKS’ program intentions is to empower all youth to be leaders in their schools and communities regardless of age, gender or background. This funding will enable TRACKS to offer a range of seasonal programming at no cost to participants and will eliminate financial barriers to inclusion. Funding for resourcing will enable TRACKS to purchase and maintain fire keeping materials, medicines for educating and ceremony (such as sage and sweetgrass), and delivery costs/materials for programming.

Despite Covid-19, in 2021 TRACKS was able to adapt its programs to support meaningful connections with over 6,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. Updates to the tipi space will enable us to continue strengthen our collaborations with First Nations and local non-profit partners to offer inclusive, educational, and interactive learning and relationship building opportunities for youth.