By Bruce Dagg with research by Lyndsay Dagg
At the opening ceremonies of PJ, T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes spoke about what the T’Sou-ke people call Sacred Mountain in their language, which we call Mount Bluff. Twice a day members of the PJ Adventure Team have been taking groups of Scouts and Scouters on a three hour hike to the top of Mount Bluff and back, a 3 km round trip with an elevation gain of about 270 m, starting right behind the archery area.
On Thursday morning I joined a group of about 7 patrols on one of these trips, led by Scouter Jim and his team. Each patrol was led by one OOS member; I tagged along with 86th Regina, in a group led by Scouter Jim. They don’t have mountains like this in Saskatchewan, and some of the kids thought that this was the best activity that they had done at PJ. We all met up together at several rest stops on the way up or down, where the staff educated us about the vegetation, the landscape, the stories of the T’Sou-ke and other indigenous people from this area, and how these are all connected.
Some of these stories are about the Smàýlilh or “Wild People”, which we call Bigfoot or Sasquatch. According to the stories the wild people come from the same family as humans and we have coexisted with them for hundreds of years. An eagle flew by while we were resting at the top – the perfect way to accentuate our time in nature, following in the footsteps of the Wild People.