Status: Complete – May 24
Traditional trail and portage in support of Minwaashin Lodge
Why the charity?
When I was working at Accenture, I volunteered to be the Indigenous Peoples Employee Resource Group (ERG) Lead for Ottawa. Why did I do this? Because I recognized my knowledge of Indigenous history, culture and subsequent steps towards reconciliation was minimal, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to educate myself. This turned into a serious passion of mine. I ended up becoming the Canada lead for the ERG, and even took an Indigenous Studies Certificate from the University of Alberta. As part of my work with the ERG, we did job skills training with Minwaashin Lodge, a local Indigenous Women’s shelter.
Not only do all shelters provide significant assistance, Indigenous women statistically face more abuse than any other group of people in Canada. Let me be clear: all abuse is unacceptable, but due to the significantly higher rate of victimization of Indigenous women, this cause because more a greater priority for my efforts. For example, the rate of sexual assault self-reported by Indigenous women was more than triple that of non-Indigenous women (35 per 1,000). There was a higher proportion of Indigenous people who self-reported being physically or sexually maltreated before the age of 15 (40%) than non-Indigenous people (29%). More specifically, a larger proportion of Indigenous girls (14%) self-reported experiencing both physical and sexual maltreatment before the age of 15 than Indigenous boys.
As such, I am very passionate and committed to helping raised funds for Minwaashin Lodge and awareness of Indigenous issues.
Why the feat?
Hiking and paddling along the river(s) is an incredibly calming and enjoyable experience for me. However, these activities weren’t always just for leisure, but rather primarily for survival as well as for cultural reasons. Ottawa has a rich Indigenous history, and although the traditional trails are not marked or even used anymore, I intend to do my best to follow the advice of the experts and engage in this journey.
As part of this, I will enter the Rideau river at the start of the traditional portage, which happens to be fairly closeby to where I am currently living. I will kayak (instead of canoe) down the Rideau River before portaging down the Rideau Falls. At that point, I will enter the Ottawa Fiver and continue my kayak westward, where I will once again have to portage another waterfall, the Chaudière Falls. From there, I will continue westward for a few more kilometers.
This adventure will not only be challenging and dangerous, but I think will be a tremendous way to spread awareness. Through my journey, I will be discussing some of the things I’ve learned from my Indigenous Studies certificate, as well as ways people can work towards reconciliation, starting with helping out at Minwaashin Lodge.
Given the dangerous and challenge of this, the journey will be very dependent on the weather. Check back for updates as to when I will be doing this.
Help by donating!
Don’t forget, you can donate to this charity, or any charity, at any point from
January 2021 – February 2022