Elder and fluent Xaayda Kil speaker Sgaana Jaads K’yaa Ga Xiigans (Golie Hans) gave five youth the chance to paddle with her on a five-day kayaking trip throughout Xaana Kaahlii Gawgaay Skidegate Inlet.
“To have a Haida elder spend five days on the water in a kayak, sleeping in a tent, telling stories around the campfire, and contributing that special wisdom gained from decades of knowledge was an experience that none of the group will ever forget,” said local kayaking guide Kuuwakaa (Luke Borserio). “That makes a bold statement about the strength of our elders!”
The seven-person kayaking group spent the first part of the week paddling to various islands in the inlet. There they practiced wilderness skills like fire and shelter building, paddling techniques, rescue scenarios and food gathering. After mastering the basics, the group loaded up and headed out on an overnight trip to Tllgaduu Gawga Kagan Bay and down Gawgajaang Long Inlet.
Youth who participated in the paddle were Gaala Cale Moraes, Xanga Laay Daylyn Moraes, Tamara Hooper, Daatsii Cenita Sankey, and Gaagwiis Reece Burton.
“With Gaala’s never-ending humor, Xanga Laay’s eagerness to help, Tamara’s paddling songs, Gaagwiis’ storytelling, and Daatsii’s commitment, everything went smoothly,” Kuuwakaa explained. “Most of all, Haa’wa Haa’wa Haa’wa to Sgaana Jaads K’yaa Ga Xiigangs for enriching this adventure with your knowledge of Haida Gwaii and Xaayda Kil. Your dedication to teaching made this trip unforgettable!”
The Ngystle Society, Hiit’agan iina Kuuya Naay Skidegate Youth Center and Kitgoro Kayaking cooperated to organize the adventure.