Photo credit: Ayrton Balfour of Team: Delta November
Why Walk to Tuk is important for our communities?
Woah times flies! There are 3 weeks left to walk as many kilometres as you can for Walk to Tuk 2021.
By now you might be feeling some of the positive impacts of participating in Walk to Tuk. Maybe you have experienced improvements to your mental, physical, or social wellbeing. But maybe you haven’t realized why Walk to Tuk is so important for the Northwest Territories. We’d like to share with you why we think this made-in-the-North challenge is especially important for our communities.
Walk to Tuk is an opportunity to showcase the uniqueness, beauty, and diversity of our northern communities and people. What better way to visit and learn about communities along the Big River than virtually walking past them? Each community along the river has its own unique charms, history, and traditions. Take a read through some past community spotlights like Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́/Fort Simpson, Tulít’a or Tthennáágó/Nahanni Butte for a glimpse into some wonderful northern communities.
Students are learning about NWT communities too. In previous years, we have asked participants for their feedback in anonymous surveys. “I really enjoyed incorporating the fitness and the challenge into my classes curriculum. We used measurement and we researched towns in the NWT,” stated a previous school team captain.
Not only do we get to learn about great NWT communities, but we also get to meet so many amazing northerners through Walk to Tuk. People such as long-time participant and team captain Denise MacDonald from Inuuvik/Inuvik who built stronger friendships through Walk to Tuk; and Melissa Sangris, an amazing mother who motivated her team while also recovering from child birth; and Emily Bayha from Délı̨nę, who in 2019 used walking as one of the ways in which she navigated her new life and the challenges of living away from her family. These are just a tiny sample of amazing northerners who have conceptually walked to Tuk. There are just so many inspiring northerners, we love to highlight them as often as we can!
From improved mood to physical health and fitness, Walk to Tuk also helps build healthy families and vibrant communities.
“A highlight for me was having my 93-year-old mother and 8-year-old granddaughter on the team. Both were excited and contributed and committed to the journey” said a previous team captain in one survey.
Another captain had said “For me, personally, we don’t get out much in the winter months, but because of this walk I took the time to get out, which was amazing and to be more social with the kids and take part in activities that we might have avoided. I think everyone enjoyed this experience.” We agree, walking with each other is an opportunity to strengthen relationships and create connections with folks of any age.
Creating opportunities for northerners to connect with the land is another reason why we think Walk to Tuk is so important. Spending time on the land has a myriad of social, cultural, and spiritual benefits for people of all ages. Waking in the bush, on trails or in protected areas fosters a better understanding and appreciation for all aspects of local culture, language, and ecology. It is such an important avenue for improving individual and community wellness. NWTRPA On the Land Consultant Rachel Cluderay wrote, “Walking is a way people have travelled on the land in the North since time immemorial. Over time, walking has evolved into many different forms of travels that move us forward on our Northern landscapes.”
Can you think of other reasons why Walk to Tuk is important for the NWT? We’d love to hear your stories and experience as you complete the last few weeks of the 2021 challenge.