I participated in Leg 3 of Canada C3, exploring the Gulf of St. Laurent on the Polar Prince. I had gone as a journalist to report on the cultural exchange between Indigenous People and Canadians on their voyage and instead found myself as part of this exchange as well. After years of reporting on Indigenous issues and feeling rather jaded, it was refreshing to meet a group of Canadians of all walks of life that were genuinely interested in learning about Indigenous People from myself, the other Indigenous C3 participants, and in the communities we visited.
On National Indigenous Peoples Day, our boat arrived in the Innu community of Pessamit. Coming from Labrador, I grew up with the Innu and soon found myself introducing my shipmates to some of my favourite wild foods like bear grease, berries, and beaver meat. One of my highlights for myself and many of my C3 shipmates was watching Innu women in the Innu community of Ekuanitshit bake bread in the sand beneath their fire.
C3 was not just a one-way conversation about Indigenous Peoples, we all learned about each other. I learned of the cultures and experiences of all kinds of people from new immigrants, to scientists, artists, athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, community leaders, parents, volunteers and more.
My journey with C3 was a real reminder of the diversity of people that makes Canada great; that there are people who want to learn and share — even when it is not an easy conversation. I believe these types of conversations are now more important than ever. We need more bridges and less walls between peoples. Weaving together these connections and conversations strengthen us as peoples and make us all stronger together. Sometimes it takes a ship full of good people to remind us of this. Nakummek C3