INDIGENOUS WAYS: The Start of a Movement
On either June 22 or June 23, contingent on your location around the globe, Indigenous Ways marked a significant milestone by convening its inaugural gathering. This event served as a rallying point for Indigenous Peoples worldwide, fostering a collective dialogue aimed at exploring the intricate relationship between their communities and the lands and waters that trails bring to their communities.
The emerging movement toward purposeful travel has gathered momentum, with indigenous customs and wisdom lending invaluable guidance to both destinations and trail stewards. These traditions hold the key to infusing transformative significance into trail experiences and management, yielding lifelong impacts. However, this symbiosis can only thrive when predicated upon a respectful engagement with these communities. It necessitates a collaborative process wherein the trails and experiences are thoughtfully co-designed, as underscored by Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana, one of the co-leaders of this initiative.
A participant from the Marshall Islands poignantly articulated the urgency of their situation: “Time is running out, and we must grasp how to safeguard our lands.” This urgency spans the realms of climate responsibility, language preservation, and fostering resilience. In this context, as part of the call’s idea generation, a demonstration project was suggested as a possible step for the Island to consider. Such a project could facilitate a profound exploration and education of the ecosystem’s intricacies, functions, and the historical context of their ancestral islands. This trail prototype has the potential to serve as an enlightening journey, not solely for their own culture and community but also for visitors from across the nation.
What’s Next: Mark your calendar for September 21 at 9:00 pm UTC to join the next Indigenous Ways conversation featuring Thomas Holden’s pioneering work in constructing the Paluma to Wallaman Falls Trail. “A spiritual journey 60,000 years in the making”, as it traces its origins through Indigenous heritage. The Paluma to Wallaman Falls (P2WF) trail is an ancient First Nation’s trading line, a language line and a songline. This project has been initiated and led by the Traditional Owners. It is their vision for country, their vision to create opportunities for cultural, social and economic benefits, and their vision to share the extraordinary stories of this country in an approach that honors and augments its values.
The pivotal role that Indigenous communities assume within the realm of trails, particularly in the contexts of restoration and heritage, cannot be overstated. Their profound, centuries-old connection with the land, the people, and the tales that animate them, confers a rich cultural tapestry upon trail development. In doing so, it unlocks a plethora of opportunities for reinvigorating social, cultural, environmental, and economic prosperity within these communities.
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