Culture coordinator provides on-land learning opportunities

The Saulteau First Nation Culture Coordinator strives to help people connect to the land and their culture.

Tylene Paquette believes that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

“I live it, it’s my life. I love being down to earth and connecting with others. I’m honored when anyone can go out and experience beauty and feel like they belong,” said Package.

Paquette also directs and participates in the Saulteau Pow Wow dance group and teaches badge making. Along with many community members, Paquette and her children spend much of the summer attending and leading round dances and powwows.

She is based at the community’s New Beginnings house, where she designed a jerky stand for members to participate in and learn about processing and making jerky.

Three weeks ago, Paquette led his group of 15 berry enthusiasts out into the wild and collected several gallons of this tasty treat.

The group shared lots of laughs and stories, and suffered quite a few scrapes and bruises, during their trek to find blueberries.

Paquette says that picking blueberries is one of her favorite activities because it reminds her of when she was a child and followed her father while he was logging.

“Once I was halfway up a hill to pick up, my dad called me softly from below and told me to come back. When I got to the bottom, he pointed, and on top of the hill was a big black bear, just waking up, with a purple tongue of all blueberries.”

Paquette’s group went looking towards Boulder Creek, between Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.

Local First Nations people traditionally harvest blueberries for use as traditional food or medicine. The berries were used to treat pains and fevers.

Last week in Carbon Lake for the Saulteau First Nations Cultural Camp, Paquette led a drum-making workshop.

She says it was the best camp for a long time, with lots of beginners enjoying the teachings and the beauty of the land.

Other adventures experienced during the four-day camp include a hike to see dinosaur tracks on Battleship Mountain, how to erect a teepee, a dry meat making demonstration, and kayaking lessons.

With fall fast approaching, Paquette has set her sights on food preservation, hunting and preparing for winter.

In the future, she hopes to organize a women’s hunt camp to teach meat processing, butchering, hide tanning and canning.

“When we work together, we connect to the earth and

Kirsta Lindstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Energeticcity.ca