Tuesday , 11 May 2021

Hideaway Adventure Grounds keeping Indigenous culture alive

Hideaway Adventure Grounds and Family Retreat in Kikino aims to provide a one of a kind camping experience that involves getting back to Indigenous roots.

 John Ritchie, the Owner and Operator of Hideaway Adventure Grounds, opened the campsite in 2018, with the goal of creating a rustic camping experience while also sharing the Metis culture.

“Hideaway was created to provide a platform for knowledge to be shared like language, art, and spiritual teachings,” said Ritchie. 

Campers can sleep in canvas wall tents, enjoy the walking trails through the 160 acre aspen forest, or take one of the arts and culture workshops offered through their partnership with Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre.

“We are able to offer different programming depending on what time of year it is. Certain seasons are best suited for different kinds of teachings,” said Ritchie.

“Right now I am offering leather pouch crafting, and I have arrangements with other knowledge holders to offer plant workshops and hand drum making.”

Growing up, Ritchie’s mother didn’t teach him her Native language Cree because she didn’t want her children to experience the same discrimination she had when she was younger. Now, Ritchie uses Hideaway Adventure Grounds as a way to reconnect to his culture.

“As children my mother didn’t want us to learn our language so that we would be better accepted by mainstream society. She thought she was doing us a favor,” said Ritchie. 

“I believe language is so important, the intention of language is to bring us back to ourselves. It’s bringing us back to our culture and our elders, and when we can speak it it brings us back to who we are.”

Through being immersed in nature, and getting to be around other prominent Native teachers in the area, Ritchie has developed a deeper understanding of himself and his heritage.

“Native people need to connect with the land, the spirit with who we once were and that’s what I’m learning about being outside all the time. The land will heal us, if we allow it,” said Ritchie.

“As I learn about myself, it’s what’s making me so proud to share my culture, and the more I share the more I learn.”

To book a campsite at Hideaway Adventure Grounds and Family Retreat, go to their website.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.