What stories do trails hold?
They hold the tales of those who've gone before you; of curiosity and exploration, of discovery, of industry, of far away places, and of the path to home.
Others tell a deeper story; one of hope and healing, of cultural reconciliation, and of learning to respect one another...
On Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, we were nine students from Thompson Rivers University that departed on an introductory trail building and mountain biking tour to Simp'cw First Nation. We returned from the tour having gained these new skillsets, along with an appreciation for harmonious collaboration, intercultural understanding, and respect. Overall, seven countries were represented: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, Russia, and Spain.
History keeps some dark secrets, and unfortunately in present time we are beginning to see themes of discrimination and hate reemerge. How can we do our part to ensure history does not continue to repeat itself? Start by considering this quote:
"All people are the same, only their habits differ."
Despite intercultural variance, all humans need air to breathe, water to drink, nutrition to work, shelter from the elements, and further - each other.
On the mountain, we collaborated to build a section of trail, and got to watch as our efforts were put to the test. We shared a meal, and sang an Indigenous song. We faced challenges together, supporting one another as we climbed the hillside. We then had an opportunity to taste the fruits of our labor – the experiential reward of downhill mountain biking.
The trails at Simp'cw First Nation are special in that they are symbolic of hope and healing, an analogy for Indigenous revival, and an effort to reconcile the cultural gaps that were inflicted during colonization attempts.
We all need to do our part to ensure that our generation fosters harmonious coexistence through the preservation of intercultural understanding and respect.
As we move forward with our studies and then continue on into the work force, I hope that we will carry some of these lessons forward - and that it inspires us to cherish and preserve our own cultures, and to advocate for others in times of hardship.
No matter an individual's cultural identity or geographic origin, remember that we are all the same, and that only our habits differ. We need each other to help leave the dark moments in the past, having learned from them, forever.
Listen to: Song of the Mountain