Guest blogger Caroline Edwards, of non-profit volunteering organsation Frontier, tells us how you can experience the daily life of indigenous tribes in Canada
British Columbia in Canada is home to stunning nature and exciting cities, a place where you get the chance to speak both English and French. However, it’s also a place that was once home to the people of the Secwepemc Nation, a tribe with ancient traditions and a unique language, hugely affected by the arrival of the colonists in North America. With Frontier you can help amend the past and work towards a better future.
Despite having lived on the land for more than 10,000 years, indigenous tribes were gravely affected by western colonialisation and the effort to convert them to a modern way of life. In recent years their living conditions has been put in the spotlight after a UN Human Rights Envoy report in May 2014 stated that Canada need to do much more for their ingenious communities. More work has now gone into making sure that indigenous tribes have a future – but there is still much more to be done.
Frontier runs the Canada Indigenous Indian Reserve Experience. The project offers people the opportunity to be a part of an amazing project by volunteering at a reserve in British Columbia where you can get the chance to learn a unique language and become a part of a culture that has faced many challenges throughout modern history.
Life as a volunteer on the project
Volunteers are expected to work five days per week and will get involved in various tasks in the reserve. Your tasks can be matched to your own personal skills and experience, or you can choose to take part in several areas of the community. It can be anything from helping out in a communal kitchen to assisting in the health care centre – it all depends on your preferences and skills.
But it’s not all work. Being in Canada gives you endless opportunities to do things such as kayaking, hiking and exploring beautiful nature as the reserve is near lakes, forest and even deserts.
You can’t be too fussy and a flexible approach is needed. Accommodation varies depending on your placement location, so it can be anything from a shared flat to a trailer. Sometimes it will be homestays and other times the volunteers live together. Internet access will depend on where you live.
Food is not included in the program, but as a volunteer you will have access to a kitchen, so you can prepare your own meals. You can travel to the nearest town to buy groceries, or eat out if you feel like experiencing something new.
Recommended for… Anyone with a desire to improve living conditions for the world’s indigenous tribes and communities. You need to be curious about their traditions and way of life and ready to take on various kinds of tasks.
Be aware that… Applications should be made six months in advance. The volunteer program lasts for four weeks and volunteers are welcomed all year round.
For more information including a full itinerary, latest prices and booking visit the project profile here
About the author: Author Caroline Edwards is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO that runs over 300 conservation, community, and adventure projects worldwide. She can be found blogging on Frontier’s Gap Year Blog or posting on the Frontier Official Facebook page. If you’d like to find out more about all of Frontier’s volunteer opportunities you can view all our projects by going to www.frontier.ac.uk
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