· CBC News
The Gwich’in wellness camp, which has been shut down for more than a decade, will be opening again this winter.
The camp is located 15 kilometres from Inuvik, N.W.T., and is only accessible by boat or ice road.
Gwich’in leaders gave an update on the camp Tuesday during the Arctic Development Expo in Inuvik.
After a long hiatus and a lot of behind the scenes work, the camp is undergoing updates to its layout and programming.
Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik said he wants the camp to be a place for people to get out of the cycles of addiction or trauma that they are experiencing and connect with the land again.
“So if people need to detox or if they need to get some help, there are counsellors out there with an Indigenous lens,” he said.
“They can go cut some wood, they can go set a net, get back to their on-the-land activities because people know that we get well back out on the land.”
The camp previously operated from 2008 to 2012.
Sharla Greenland is the director of nation building and self-determination for the GTC.
She says improvements, like a new biomass furnace, will make the camp more affordable which is a reason it closed previously.
“So that’s the phase we are in right now, we’re just redoing much of the system upgrades from an environmental and sustainable lens,” said Greenland.
Solar panels were installed at the campsite to make the best use of the technology.
Greenland says programming is being finalized and will be announced this winter.
A name change is also planned for the wellness camp.
Kyikavichik said a committee will be formed to decide on the new name. He told the crowd at the Arctic Development Expo on Tuesday morning that the name might be a Gwich’in term or named after a deceased community member.
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