Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Atikamekw Snowshoe Expedition: Into The Canadian Wilderness During The Winter

The Atikamekw are an indigenous people who have lived in a remote part of Quebec, Canada for more than 400 years. During that time they have developed a way of life that allows them to survive in that hostile, frigid environment. They have adapted to the harsh conditions there, learning to live off the land, hunt for food and developing tools such as snowshoes and dogsleds that have helped their culture thrive even into the 21st century.

From 1999-2001, explorers Bert Poffé and Kiki Nárdiz traveled to the Atikamekw region where they learned much about their way of life and their methods of survival, both during the winter and the summer. Visiting that region built a deep connection with the First Nations families that live there, while also instilling a love of nature and the planet in them at the same time. It has been nearly 13 years since they last visited their friends amongst the Atikamekw, but early next year that will change.

On their website, Bert and Kiki have announced plans for their Atikamekw Snowshoe expedition, which will send them back into the wilderness where they honed their survival skills more than a decade ago. The journey will take place in February, 2014 and will take approximately three weeks to complete. During that time, they'll be traveling unsupported deep into Atikamekw territory using nothing but the ancient survival methods that the indigenous people have used to survive there for centuries. That includes using traditional mukluks, snowshoes and handcrafted wooden toboggans.

Their journey will take the two explorers into one of the coldest inhabited places on the planet. They'll pass over frozen lakes, trek deep into gorges and pass into regions that few outsiders ever see. Along the way, they'll face sub-zero temperatures, high winds, potential blizzards and all kinds of other climactic challenges as they pass between the Atikamekw communities of Obedjiwan and Manawan.

For more information about Bert, Kiki and their plans be sure to check out Inuksu.be.

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