British Columbia

The Last Stand

A 4-week Summer Travel Program

Enroll
Duration
26 Days
Description

Experience the spirit of Canada’s Pacific Coast with its spectacular ancient rainforests and islands scattered in the Salish Sea. Explore the grassroots of old-growth activism, coastal First Nations cultures, as well as regenerative movements for local futures on Coast Salish territories and in the context of reconciliation and Indigenous resurgence in present day Canada.

Dates

Jul 5 - Jul 30, 2021


Suggested Ages

15-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Closed

Begins In

8 Weeks

Land Cost

$6,850


Estimated Flight Cost

N/A

Salish Coast

Program Overview

Explore regenerative lifeways and worldviews in defense of the sacred ancient forests, life-sustaining waters, and communities on the Salish coast.


At the Canadian coastline where ancient forests meet the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean, we experience the spirit of place of the Pacific Coast, hear the unbroken thread of songs and stories of Coast Salish First Peoples who have stewarded these territories since time immemorial, and meet the intersectional movements and diverse communities who hold the complexities of resistance and regeneration today.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Climb into and among 1000 year old trees as you connect nature, theory and practice while suspended from branches 150ft off the ground
  • Hike rugged coastal trails and camp on the beach next to ancient forests under millions of stars
  • Bear…

At the Canadian coastline where ancient forests meet the Salish Sea and the Pacific Ocean, we experience the spirit of place of the Pacific Coast, hear the unbroken thread of songs and stories of Coast Salish First Peoples who have stewarded these territories since time immemorial, and meet the intersectional movements and diverse communities who hold the complexities of resistance and regeneration today.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Climb into and among 1000 year old trees as you connect nature, theory and practice while suspended from branches 150ft off the ground
  • Hike rugged coastal trails and camp on the beach next to ancient forests under millions of stars
  • Bear witness to an intersectional movement in defense of the last 1% of ancient temperate rainforests remaining in the world
  • Paddle and sail between the islands of the Salish Sea, exploring the lifeways and worldviews of coastal communities and the more-than-human world
  • Learn about regenerative agroforestry and permaculture practices emerging as life-affirming responses to the Polycrisis

Our journey moves through the trails and waterways at the heart of the Pacific Coast bioregion, on shores that have been home to coastal First Nations for millennia. This is Salmon Nation, an ecocultural region that stretches from California to Alaska. Within the context of reconciliation in Canada and converging ecological, economic, and social crises unfolding at a global scale, we’ll find what it means for each of us, and all of us together, to enter into good relations with self, one another, and with this place. We’ll do so by exploring how local communities are living into just futures by building and reviving more equitable and sustainable alternatives.

We visit the ancestral and unsurrendered territories of the Pacheedaht First Nation, amidst ancient arboreal giants that hold the songs of millenia, where we are reminded to tread carefully on pillowy-soft moss that is the baselayer of all life in this place. It’s here we’ll meet Elder Bill Jones and an intersectional movement making a last stand in defense of the ancient forests and watersheds, of which 1% is left but is still being cut. We’ll encounter Big Lonely Doug, a 1000 year old Douglas Fir whose personhood has been recognized by activists and enthusiasts, if not by the law. Big Doug is lonely because he was once among thousands, and now only a few remain. With the aid of arborists we’ll climb into the canopy to comprehend both the devastation and magnificence around us, as well as our roles and agency going forward.

Next we hike through the verdant forests and rugged beaches of the west coast, punctuated by suspension bridges high above creeks spawning salmon, and camp on sand next to the waves under star studded skies. The trail is an ideal place to reflect on all that we have seen and experienced, and to live in community and practice foundational leadership in gratitude and reciprocity to one another and the land. Each of us will develop a practice that goes beyond the wilderness mantra of Leave No Trace to instead leave traces of care.

Our next step takes us to the southern Gulf Islands, the ancestral territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation. By paddle and sail ship we’ll follow the traditional waterways between islands, exploring Indigenous food justice, localization, permaculture, and efforts to conserve and regenerate biodiversity. We’ll contemplate what it means for the Salish Sea – the busiest stretch of marine vessel traffic in the world – to also be the only home to the critically endangered southern resident orcas, as well as a site of trans-border Indigenous-led conservation efforts.

We end our journey together in reflection and celebration on a remote permaculture farm, preparing to re-enter our worlds carrying forward all the good work. 

HÍ,SW̱ḴE SI,IÁM! ƛ̓eekoo ƛ̓eekoo!

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

4/5
Spirituality and Philosophy

Introduction to Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth worldviews and teachings

3/5
Wilderness Immersion

5 day hike through the forests and beaches of the west coast, as well as day-paddles and an expedition in the Salish Sea among the South Gulf Islands (W̱SÁNEĆ territories).

5/5
Land and Water Stewardship

Frontline land, water and forest defense, Indigenous-led eco-cultural revitalization, and intersectional activism and advocacy.

3/5
Immersive Travel

This program will immerse students in the forests, farms, and communities of the Salish Coast. We will support local projects that practice eco and agro tourism, education, and good-impact modes of living and being.

4/5
Themes

Indigenous sovereignty, social and environmental justice, alternative lifestyles, food systems, conservation, artistic traditions.

3/5
Farm-Stays

A farm-stay with permaculture and education focus.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

ISPs can include ethnobotany, arboriculture, as well as traditional carving, weaving, drum-making, and basket weaving, as well as permaculture, soil health, wildlife identification and others.

2/5
Language Study

Introduction to SENĆOŦEN language, story telling, and songs.

3/5
Learning Service

Help build forest trails and boardwalks with the Coastal Trail Collective.