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Generations on the Move in Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́

 July 15, 2020
Posted by NWT Recreation and Parks Association

In the community of Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ (Fort Simpson), people of all ages are getting together and staying active during COVID-19.

Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ is one of the four communities participating in the Generations on the Move (GOM) Program—which aims to create free regular and repeated activities and programs in communities across the NWT instead of one-time events.

Along with Hay River, Ulukhaktok, and Whatì, Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ is approaching this initiative in a unique way that suits the community. The Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation began hosting regular archery program for all ages in 2019; and after being put on hold during Public Health Restrictions for COVID-19, Family Archery Practice started again when restrictions lifted in June!

Lı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation Wellness Coordinator, Roslyn Firth, she said the program was going great before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that back then, a variety of programs brought together large groups of people of all ages. Family dances, fiddle contests and dances, and traditional games were just some of the activities fostering connections across generations in the community in active ways.

“COVID definitely put a damper on things, but we are moving forward with activities where social distancing can easily happen,” she said. “In May, we sponsored a walking challenge that encouraged all ages to complete 40 kilometres during the month. We had a very good response, and people were able to walk while at a safe distance from others.” Over 60 people registered for this challenge!

But the outdoor archery program is back on as of June 15. “We have started our outside archery program again and participants are maintaining a safe distance, using hand sanitizer, and staff are cleaning equipment after use,” Roslyn said. They meet on Monday and Friday from 7-9 pm outside the arbour!

Being part of the Generations on the Move project has an impact that extends beyond the archery program, and encourages the community to make intergenerational connections in other community programs.

“The GOM program has inspired us to make sure we include all age groups in activities,” Roslyn tells us. “For instance, last year at our spring gathering [and] Indigenous people’s day celebrations we had categories in all games for grandparents and grandchildren together, parents and children together, et cetera.”

What’s one thing Roslyn looks forward to most about being able to run programs again as COVID-19 restrictions lift? Family dances and drum dances where community members attended in large numbers and really enjoyed themselves!

“We’ve now held several events that brought Elders out, and had the generations playing together. I think my favorite one was the fiddle concert and dance where all generations danced together, jigging and participating in dances like the Virginia Reel.”

We hope that bringing together different generations through recreation will promote the transmission of knowledge, and inspire everyone to lead more active lifestyles.

If you’re interested in starting regular intergenerational programming in your community—no matter how big or small!—check out our Intergenerational Toolkit for helpful information to make it happen.