I have been away from Whitehorse for about 10 years now. I, like many other youth, wanted more from the world than the Yukon was willing to offer. I lived in major cities all across Canada. I connected to the native communities that were not my own.
The Sundog Canoe Project brought me home.
My boyfriend, William Callaghan, was one of the carvers at Sundog. He has grown from the last five years he has spent at Sundog, and now has been accepted to attend the most prestigious art school in Canada, Emily Carr, in the fall.
I came to Whitehorse from Vancouver, to come visit him out at Egg Island on the Yukon River.
I fell in love with him, and I fell in love with the Yukon. And this is all due to Sundog and what they are doing for the youth of the Yukon. Had this canoe journey not happened, I would not have seen the beauty of the Yukon again. I would not have felt the Yukon River as I swam on those hot summer days.
I ended up staying in the Yukon this year, reconnecting with what every Yukoner loves about the Yukon Ã the land, the beauty and the spirit.
Sundog, over the past year, has provided me with a job, they provided me with support and helped me connect with my artistic side.
But this doesn’t even count the students at Sundog. The youth who show up to work every day to carve. Where Andrew and Heather Finton give their undying spirit and support to every youth in that studio. I have seen those two do so much for the program and to see it go away breaks my heart.
I need to say how important this program is to the Yukon and its residents.
Sundog provides a family to those who do not have one. Sundog provides an outlet for artistic souls. Sundog provides traditional knowledge. Sundog provides a service that is needed in the Yukon.
We need to fight to keep these programs alive. These programs cannot and should not be swept under the table. It is an essential service to the Yukon and to Yukoners.
Chantal Rondeau, freelance journalist/blogger