In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, a group of teenagers is currently trekking through some of the most remote country on Earth - a part of Canada's Northwest territories through which the Thelon River flows. Along the way, they'll encounter grizzly bears, caribou, and lots and lots of bugs.
The trip is important to the youth embarking on it because they belong to the Dene First Nation, a Native American community that considers the upper Thelon River "the place where God began."
Although it is sacred to their people, many Dene teens have never been to the Thelon River area because it is so remote, and they have never experienced such intensive wilderness travel. They will need to wear full-body bug suits to keep away the swarms of mosquitoes and will even carry bear spray to ward off Grizzlies along their 200-mile canoe trip on the river.
"The whole land originally belonged to the Dene First Nation people, who have been living there...for millennia. The Thelon is considered to be the place where God began his work for them; it’s got lots of spritual meaning, it’s their hunting grounds, it’s the place they got all their sustenance from. But over time, as modern civilization has intruded upon their lives, that connection has been lost."- M. Sanjayan, lead scientist, The Nature Conservancy
1. What does the term ‘indigenous’ mean?
2. Why might a specific region or piece of land be considered sacred to a community?
3. Where is the Arctic Circle? What do you think the land is like just south of the Circle in northern Canada?
1. Imagine you were going on this trip. Based on what you learned in the video, what do you think might be some of the biggest challenges about it for you? Why?
2. According to the scientist, what does the group hope to accomplish on this journey?
3. Do you think you would enjoy going on this trip? Why or why not?
4. Why do you think this specific group of teens was chosen for this expedition? What do you think they will learn from it?