Tradition of fishing provides future for youth, Garden Hill man says
Fisherman believes economic opportunities exist in First Nation's fishing industry
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and it could mean a secure future for his entire community. Borrowing from the old proverb, Ivan Harper believes fishing is the future for Garden Hill youth.
Harper's family has set a net in the same spot in Island Lake for three generations. On a recent trip home, he was nice enough to take my son and I out on the lake.
Pulling nets looks easy. Harper and his two friends run like a finely tuned machine — so smooth, it's almost automatic. They're out here on almost a daily basis, even in blizzards.
"I know some of them had very traditional parents, but they went to school and came back — they don't know nothing about fisheries, fishing and food," he said.
It's important for more youth to be re-introduced to traditional practices, Harper said.
Last year, gardening and chicken farming programs were introduced to Garden Hill youth.
"What I want to see is restaurants ordering from this fish plant, like every order we get, we just deliver to the airport," Harper said.
"Because we have premium fish up here."