photo of person kayaking

August 17, 2023

The Ripple Effects of Indigenous Traditions

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5 mins read

Lake Nipigon Reserve, ON

Watch the video to see how Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) First Nation, an Energizing Life recipient, enhances community connections through the Let’s Get Active kayaking program.

Watch the Video

Kayaking and canoeing have been integral activities within Indigenous culture for centuries, serving as a means of hunting and discovery while developing individual growth and spiritual connection.

During the summer of 2021, AZA First Nation recognized the need for an outdoor program that would create an opportunity for the community’s 546 members to unite while maintaining the pandemic’s physical distancing safety requirements. The Let’s Get Active kayaking program prioritizes safety, with comprehensive training included to ensure the well-being of all participants during excursions. This initiative aims to revitalize cultural traditions while promoting the physical and mental well-being of AZA members.

Today, kayaking has evolved as a sport for all ages, improving one’s strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Beyond the physical benefits, the peaceful stillness of the lake and the surrounding nature fosters the mental well-being of AZA members, offering solace from the pressures of daily life.

"It’s so heartwarming to see our members kayaking, to watch the older youths teach the younger children how to use kayaks, and to feel the comradery all around. The kayak program has been a huge success in getting AZA members active and reconnected with their roots.”
Photo of Alice Sasines
Alice Sasines,
Community Planner, Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek

With assistance from the Energizing Life Community Fund, AZA’s Let’s Get Active program is providing members with an opportunity to experience the many benefits of movement and exploration, fostering a meaningful connection with the lake and the land they call home. The impact of Let’s Get Active extends far beyond physical and mental well-being. The program creates stronger bonds between multiple generations, and it helps rekindle the teachings and traditions of hunting and voyaging.

Through the art of kayaking, young AZA members are learning valuable skills from elders, understanding the cultural significance of the activity and embracing their Indigenous heritage. The kayaks themselves symbolize vessels for knowledge and adventure, bridging generational gaps while instilling a sense of health, happiness and cultural pride. Let’s Get Active is an ongoing spring and summer program that remains steadfast in its commitment to support its members and create greater unity within the AZA First Nation community.

Watch the video to see how AZA’s Let’s Get Active program is making waves in the community.

For more information on Gateway AZA, visit

Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA) First Nation: (807) 875-2785

The Energizing Life Community Fund

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