Chad Stump, Band Manager, ?Esdilagh First Nation
After a nice long summer of trail building we are happy to report that ?Esdilagh is greatly excited for our new vision of trail building and mountain biking.
Our Youth have been happy this summer being able to utilize all their trails, and their newly built pump track. This new activity that they can look forward to each summer has sparked a new energy within their spirits. They are very happy to move forward with their future plans to be biking experts once their trails are completed.
Our community has long yearned for an opportunity to teach our youth new ideas of getting on the land. We have also watched as they have become independent on trail building. We have also watched as their hearts have grown filled with excitement as they watched the show you and your crew provided to them in the community late one evening.
?Esdilagh is moving to a healthier life style in the next coming years and this trail system will greatly help. The motivation has been implanted into our community members to keep pushing forward with this project. We are completely satisfied with the partnership we have gone into you and your organization.
We cannot wait for next season to come, hopefully gaining funding from various sources, but also having the funding to have students, members, and communities working together to create a trail system that will last a life time.
Cristina Tallio, Health Directo, Ulkatcho First Nation
We had the chance to invite Patrick Lucas crew out to do a workshop with the community, since they started and finished one of the trails, there sense of positive expression grew stronger within them. They were able to look at the trail once it was done and feel very proud of their accomplishments, their hard worked paid off after the long days in the heat and bugs. I was very proud of the volunteers who had showed up, they were not scared of hard work and even returned every day to make sure the project was finished. And to this day our kids, adults and even elders enjoy the trial, it may be running, walking or biking and as our community use the trail more often, we are seeing a lot more active people in our community. We at the Health Clinic encourage everyone to be active and healthy, and to hear from members that they are utilizing the trial on their own shows that our Trail building workshop was successful. And as Ulkatcho Health Director I would highly recommend this crew to come back and do more trails, like many other communities we are struggling with addictions. So, to have such a positive outcome after the trail building was done I am looking forward to another Workshop in the near future.
Tom Eustache, Director of Public Works, Simpcw First Nation
The trails have had a major positive impact on our community. It gets our youth and people out on the land and helps them to see what is possible in life and when we reconnect with our lands. There is a regular group now of 11 youth who ride the trail and 15 women who run. The women recently participated in a competitive race and they would have never done that before. The workshops gave our community new knowledge for building trail and now we see more people coming out wanting to work as well as volunteer to build more trails. We look forward to working with the IYMBP in the future to build more and enhance our trails in the community.
Maureen Chapman, Chief Councilor, Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation
We had heard of the work being done by Patrick, Thomas, and the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program, and invited them to come work with us. We knew immediately we had found the right team. Throughout the entire process, they listened with compassion and care and worked with us with open hearts and minds with the intent of assisting us to realize our vision. They exhibited a steadfast commitment to understanding the history and intergenerational impacts of colonialism on our people and they made every effort to ensure their own actions were in support of our efforts to decolonize our lands. They provided training and employment for our youth and the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. Building the park gave our youth an enhanced sense of pride and well-being.
The result: Syéxw Chó:leqw (Rockslide in the Forest) Adventure Park and it is a testament to the possibilities of reconciliation. The park receives thousands of visitors each month, people from all backgrounds seeking spiritual renewal and connections to nature. Our Nation hosts programing in the park such as tours and events for local schools, educating children and the public about our people, our history and heritage. At the suggestion of Patrick and Thomas, we installed numerous art sculptures around the park, highlighting Stó:lō artists and culture. We have engaged our elders in shaping and sharing our stories and our culture with the world.
The park has become a safe place for our members where they can engage in recreation and further their own healing journey. As our members, including youth, families and elders, have engaged in active recreation in the park, they are using their newfound confidence and are starting to explore parks throughout the region, re-asserting our presence throughout our lands and territories.
Syéxw Chó:leqw is an ancient and powerful place to our people. It is a transformation site, T’it’emtámex, where Tamiya was shot by Xaxals with bolts of lightning during a time of chaos and disorder, transformed into a mountain in order to make the world right again. We believe the land still has that power, and with the assistance of the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program our park has become a powerful model of reconciliation and an inspiration for all of British Columbia. Patrick, Thomas, and the IYMBP team are truly walking the path of reconciliation.
Ralph Phillips, Elder, Tourism Guide, Xat’sull First Nation
The trails help our people get to know and appreciate our land more. Before there was nowhere to walk but on the road and people stopped going out on to the land. But these trails are changing that. The [trail crew] team helps our youth get ready to work as fire fighters and protect our homes and community. We hope the IYMBP will come back.
Keith Henry, President & Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
The Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program have been committed and steadfast allies to Indigenous peoples. Through their work they have supported dozens of First Nations throughout the province to articulate and pursue their vision and priorities for social and economic development, reconnecting with their territories, and asserting their rights and title and creator given role as the stewards and caretakers of the land. The have worked to raise awareness and educate the non-Indigenous recreation and tourism community to uphold and live the principles of reconciliation. As a result of their efforts, we see many First Nations flourishing in the tourism and recreation sector and the creation of strong relations with non-Indigenous communities and stakeholders.
Margo Wagner, Chair, Cariboo Regional District
The Cariboo Regional District recognizes and appreciates the value that trails provide to our region, both in terms of well-being by providing opportunities for an active lifestyle, and in the partnerships with First Nations who play an active role with trail construction as well as utilizing the trail networks. I commend the IYMBP’s many years of committed effort towards engaging Aboriginal Youth.
John Hawkings, Director, Recreation Sites & Trails BC
Over the past several years many of our staff have worked with the Patrick Lucas and Thomas Schoen from the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program on a regular basis. With their leadership, integrity and steadfast commitment to the principles of reconciliation they have functioned as trusted liaison between our department and numerous First Nation communities. They provide community engagement, facilitate workshops for non-Indigenous recreation clubs and stakeholders, and raise awareness on the importance of reconciliation and best practices for working together as partners. As a result, we have seen significant improvements in the relations between the recreation community and First Nations throughout the province. We see First Nation communities realizing the social and economic benefits of recreation and the strengthening of their culture, language and heritage. We also see more Indigenous people engaging in outdoor recreation and living healthy active lives.
Tennessee Trent, Manager of Trails, Recreation Sites & Trails BC
Over the past four years, RSTBC has had the opportunity to work with the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program. Under the leadership of Patrick Lucas and Thomas Schoen, the IYMBP has taken on numerous projects that are of great interest to the RSTBC branch and to rural communities across the province. These include partnerships with the Simpcw Nation, on the Soda Creek Reserve, on the Chilcotin Plateau, in the Bella Coola valley and many others. Each of these examples exemplifies some of the strengths of the IYMBP – specifically community engagement, reconciliation and community strengthening. I find the work that the IYMBP does to be inspiring and of vital importance to communities across BC. I have had the opportunity to witness some of the positive benefits that the IYMBP can have in rural communities. Their ability to bring communities together positions the IYMBP well to develop stronger post-wildfire communities.
AJ Strawson, Executive Director, International Mountain Bike Association Canada
The IYMBP have played a central role in educating and raising awareness within the trails and mountain bike community regarding the importance of supporting the principles of reconciliation through the provision of training workshops, lectures, presentations, film, and publications, along with working with mountain bike clubs throughout the province and supporting them to take concrete actions to further the principles of reconciliation.
The IYMBP has worked tirelessly to foster an outdoor recreation community that is open and welcoming to Indigenous peoples to engage in healthy active living and to practise their culture and connections to the land. They have encouraged our community to understand that the perspectives and understandings of Aboriginal Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts and practises are vital to long-term reconciliation.
The IYMBP have worked with dozens of First Nations, training their youth and community members as trail builders, as well as providing instruction in mountain biking and wilderness safety. As a result, there are dozens of youth who are entering the recreation sector as trail builders, riders, and tourism guides, greatly benefiting the entire industry and ensuring the economic benefits flow to First Nation communities. We see more Indigenous athletes participating in mountain biking and increased number of Indigenous peoples getting outdoors and living healthy active lives.
Due to the efforts of the IYMBP, we are witnessing significant change and growth in our community and concrete steps and actions taken to support reconciliation. Clubs around the province are reaching out and engaging with First Nations, acknowledging and centering their rights and title and creator given role as the stewards and caretakers of the land. Many are establishing ground breaking agreements with First Nations over the use and development of trails on their territories that adhere to their cultural protocols and systems of governance. Many of our members are integrating Indigenous knowledge, culture and language into trail signage and educational materials.
Outdoor recreation is important, not just for our economy, but the health and spiritual well-being of all British Columbians. The IYMBP has played a central role in helping the recreation community to see that how we play on and experience the land is deeply connected to our relations with First Nations. With their leadership and integrity, our community is taking the path to authentic reconciliation.
Louise Pedersen, Executive Director, Outdoor Recreation Council of BC
Patrick and his team have worked with the ORC to educate, raise awareness and inspire the outdoor recreation community in BC to work towards authentic reconciliation. As part of this, they oversaw and prepared a best practises and educational guide, Working in a Good Way, to provide practical and effective strategies for our community to engage with and build better relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Working in a Good Way has become one of our most popular and sought-after resources and is being utilized by recreation clubs throughout the province.
We have seen a vast improvement in the development of positive relations between the recreation community and First Nations. We see new levels of understanding among our members regarding the links between recreation and the legacy of colonialism, Indigenous rights and title, self-determination, and the importance of our shared responsibility for supporting reconciliation. Many of our members have increased their engagement with First Nations with positive results, working with elders, youth and leaders to ensure their communities share in the social and economic benefits of outdoor recreation. In many areas of the province, we are seeing trail projects that celebrate and centre Indigenous culture, history and language with Indigenous trail names and educational programming.
One of the key strengths of the Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program is their commitment to working with First Nations to create outdoor recreation trails that support their needs and priorities. We are seeing substantial numbers of Indigenous people getting involved in outdoor sports as a result improving health and well-being in vulnerable communities. By providing training and capacity building, more First Nations, especially youth, are engaging in outdoor recreation and securing employment opportunities as trail builders and adventure guides.
Patrick spoke as a panelist during the International Indigenous Tourism Conference hosted by Indigenous Tourism BC. As one of our few non-Indigenous speakers, Patrick delivered a fun and engaging talk with compelling stories and was a highlight of the conference.Keith Henry, CEO, Indigenous Tourism Canada Association
I first heard Patrick speak at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Whistler, BC. His ability to connect meaningfully with the audience through humour and engaging storytelling is truly impressive. I have had the pleasure to hear Patrick speak many times since that initial conference and each time he has proven to be the hit of the show.Mike Bellegarde, Saskatoon Tribal Council
Patrick Lucas’ Decolonizing Trails presentation has become a perennial fixture at the University of British Columbia, and his presentation is always the highlight of the course. It is not his voice that is centred, rather it is the stories of the youth, Elders, and communities that drive the plot.Moss E. Norman, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology, UBC
Patrick is a powerful and effective storyteller. His engaging style and performance went beyond all expectations and delivered a webinar that really hit on many important issues within the trail, mountain biking, and the outdoor sector in generalDamyn Libby, Trails BC
People loved hearing about the history of the AYMBP, and your progress in so many different communities. It was informative & inspiring!Tyler Jordan, President, 7Mesh Cycling Apparel
I’ve never thought about the link between Recreation and Colonialism. I will now, and will work to flip the script!Audience member, Arc’Teryx Birdx Talk Series
You, and your work, are such an inspiration to our team!Jessica O’Dowd, Arc’Terx
Patrick is a community planner who’s pondered how he could contribute to Canada’s essential task of reconciliation. He inspires us to honour First Nations and appreciate how our own identity is enriched by their values, pragmatism, humour, resilience and beautiful spirit.Sam Sullivan, Public Salon