As part of the Oyoyocik Student Leadership Group's trip to Haida Gwaii, we are thrilled to share daily dispatches about their experiences during the trip.
Today was a little bittersweet, but only because we knew that this was going to be our last full day here. We started by going on a small trail hike towards a place where the once beautiful K'iid K'yaas, also known as the Golden Spruce, stood. A tree that was sacred to the Haida people and was felled in 1997 by a man who was trying to protest the logging industry, a very misguided tragic story.
As we walked through the forest and had the chance to take in our surroundings, it was truly enlightening. Being able to see this forest thriving, and continuing to be kept safe by the Haida, was almost reassuring.
In Winnipeg, our forests are few and far between, and each day across the world, we hear stories of ecosystems being destroyed for the good of capitalism and human advancement. I believe, many people tend to forget that our trees, forests, and their animal inhabitants are all important in order to keep the earth beautiful, and alive.
As we rounded the corner and finally laid eyes on the stump where the tree stood many years ago, you get this seemingly chilly sensation throughout your body. Almost as if it's stories still hung in the air around us, reminding us of its importance to the Haida culture. A truly saddening, yet captivating sight.
Throughout the rest of our day, I could tell that everyone in the group was trying their best to take in everything around them. So was I. We ended up stopping at a small market inside the town of Masset where we were able to talk to the local venders about their small businesses which included pastry, jam and jewelry making, as well as potting small plants.
We finished off our night with a dinner made by a few of our student members where everyone got to share laughs over dinner for one last time. After that, we visited Agate beach one final time.
I don't think I'll ever get over the feeling of standing in front of a roaring ocean with the sun beginning to set, watching my friends begin to cry because they're laughing so hard. It was humbling, and I am so thankful that I had that opportunity. Breathing in the slightly salty air, with the sound of the wind and the waves filling my ears, combing through the rocks to find agates, was an incredible way to finish off the last full day of our trip.
Corey Kapilik, Coordinator of Indigenous Education, LRSD