Nikani Awtiken is a Mi’kmaq phrase that means “trail blazing” or “creating a new path.”

This summer, up to 14 high school students from Unama’ki will participate in a week-long camp on forestry, natural resources and employment opportunities in the sector.

Nikani Awtiken is a project of MELC (Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre), the new educational arm of UINR. Funded by Natural Resources Canada, this pilot project is part of the National Aboriginal Youth Forestry Employment Training Initiative.

Mark MacPhail, UINR’s Director of Forestry, is the project’s coordinator. “The aim of Nikani Awtiken is to instill an interest among Mi’kmaq youth in pursuing careers in natural resource management. Access to career opportunities is critical to the future sustainability of our communities and the historical relationship of Mi’kmaq people to the environment creates a natural fit for our youth. It will give them an opportunity to explore career and academic options while gaining practical hands-on experience in natural resource management and traditional perspectives of sustainability.”

The camp will be held August 8-14 at Camp Rankin in Richmond County and will give participants training in a wide range of skills including forest management, tree and medicinal plant identification, GPS, chainsaw and boating safety, visit to a saw mill, team building, leadership skills, first aid, professional work ethics and traditional Mi’kmaq knowledge.

There is no cost to participants and room and board is provided for the week-long camp.

Application details are here: Youth Application Form


Joef Bernard, Debbie Waycott-Envirothon Coordinator, Vicky Googoo