Selkirk First Nation Celebrates Spring with a Traditional Ice Fishing Trip.
Text and photos by Rena Simon, Kenzie Silas-Gill, Riley Gill-Blackjack, and Dylan Alfred.
On March 8th 2019, the day before Spring Break, Eliza Van Bibber School from Pelly Crossing drove down to Łhútsäw Lake for their annual ice fishing trip.
The students, staff, RCMP, and Selkirk First Nation citizens hiked from the Klondike Highway to a small cabin on the shore of the lake. Participants, young and old, fished in the sun all afternoon and caught and shared many pike, using a traditional setup of a fresh branch and string. Grade seven student, Ranon Sawyer says “The fishing trip is important because we learn how to fish, and fish [are] a natural food source”. Past student Gavin Joe reminisced that being “… surrounded by lake and and trees… was peaceful” and that “it’s hard to find that these days”.
Fishing has always been an important part of Selkirk First Nation culture. The school is working together with the community’s Elders and knowledge keepers to teach youth traditional skills such as making and setting nets and traps. They also hope to build personal skills like patience, observation, respect, and environmental stewardship. The spring trip to Łhútsäw Lake has been running for almost two decades now.