Exploring the mountains, breathing in the unique air, and connecting to the land is when Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) woman Myia Antone is happiest — whether it’s hiking, skiing, or merely sitting back and taking in the beauty that surrounds her.
Sharing this feeling with others and breaking down barriers to outdoors recreation for indigenous females has develop into her passion.
The 24-year-weak is the founder and director of Indigenous Ladies folk Exterior, a new non-income organization that helps First Nations females reconnect to their traditional territories and roots via backcountry sports activities on the North Shore and in Squamish.
The crew creates safe learning experiences via outdoors programs that provide gear and training to supply females the arrogance to take part in skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, and other activities.
Antone’s inspiration to assist females in her community reignite their connection to the exterior stems from facing barriers to backcountry sports activities in her acquire childhood, as well as not seeing a total lot of indigenous representation in the exterior industry growing up.
“I always cherished getting outdoors, but as all individuals knows there are so many barriers for folx to regain outdoors, whether that’s gear or time, money or data,” she said.
“Growing up in Squamish, I saw so many folk doing these really crazy, cool activities and I wanted to examine out them but that wasn’t really an option for me at that point. Then when I purchased older and I was able to start affording these things a bit more and I started getting into the sports activities, I saw no other indigenous folx, or very few of us, in these spaces.”
Breaking down barriers to the backcountry
In 2017, Antone establish the wheels in motion to start making a change with Tá7elnexwtway, a hiking mission for Squamish Nation females that she kick-started with a grant.
“I wager I’ve always factual wanted to assist folk, especially in my community, and determine how easiest I can,” she said.
“So, I started a hiking program a couple of years ago. There was a lot of excitement around it, and I realized I wanted to grow it and assist more indigenous folx who dwell on my territory.”
The consequence is her inspiring non-income organization IWO, which launched last year.
“By creating a non-income, I was really able to reach a wider audience and apply for more grants,“ Antone said. ”It’s via the grants and the partnerships now with local organizations that we’re able to supply some fairly awesome programming.”
At the moment, the IWO programs are a slight restricted because of COVID-19 provincial health officer regulations, but they are at exhibit running a backcountry mentorship program for six females, inquisitive about skiing, snowboarding and avalanche safety.
“Every person in the program is new to the backcountry, so it’s fairly sweet being able to encourage these females on their saunter,” Antone said.
“We’ve been doing two workshops a month, all about safety in the backcountry and we provide [Avalanche Canada] AST programs for all individuals. It’s factual a way to regain outdoors and be in the mountains surrounded by the wooded area and the bushes with other Indigenous folx.”
When asked how females have replied to the program so far, Antone exclaimed: “Oh my gosh. They care for it!”
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Reigniting a connection to the land
While backcountry safety and practical abilities are a big part of the programming, Antone is also passionate about reconnecting Indigenous peoples to their lands and roots because it allows an opportunity for healing and to share data and culture in a safe space.
“It’s such a special feeling to be in the mountains with factual other Indigenous females, especially because a bunch of us are from the local communities,” she said.
“Data sharing is really easy whenever you happen to’re in a really safe and comfortable space. A lot of us are either coming back to our communities or cultures and learning our languages and ceremonies and so, we regain to really share that portion of ourselves with the crew too.
“We regain to leave each day factual so happy in our hearts and spirits, and our minds are beefy of data.”
On high of running the non-income, Antone is also a beefy-time student in the Squamish Language program at Simon Fraser College – learning and teaching the traditional language is another of her great loves.
“There is this really amazing energy in the Indigenous revitalization space, where a lot of young folx are wanting to reclaim that portion of us and are wanting to learn and teach the languages that our folk approach from,” said Antone, who is also a UBC graduate in ambiance and sustainability.
“For me, getting outdoors and land-based learning is such a big portion of it. So, I’m hoping to bridge my outdoors work with my language work.
“I think that may well be my dream.”
Antone is also hoping to break down the barriers surrounding indigenous data of the land and the exterior and make it more broadly identified.
“I think there is space in avalanche safety training and in the exterior world to really uphold Indigenous data, especially when the local communities have been on these lands for generations and thousands of years. We have such an intimate data of these lands … but we don’t maintain space for that.”
Youngest recipient of the Tim Jones Award
Her inspirational work was identified this week on the North Shore.
In her mid-20s, Antone has develop into the youngest recipient of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival’s Tim Jones Community Achievement Award, which is co-introduced by North Shore Rescue.
The award is introduced to a community member who has made an outstanding contribution to the North Shore outdoors or sports activities community, in memoriam of the late and great Tim Jones, a paramedic and chief for more than 24 years with North Shore Rescue.
Now in its eighth year, the award represents Jones’ legacy and serves as an inspiration to the community to selflessly assist others. It highlights those that educate and share a passion for nature and a care for for the North Shore’s backyard mountains, factual as Jones did.
While the past seven recipients of the award – which is usually regarded as more of a lifetime achievement – have been reasonably a bit older than Antone, this year the VIMFF shifted its point of interest to a younger generation to “inspire all individuals that making a change and contributing to society doesn’t approach with age, but with passion and tenacity.”
And, Antone has demonstrated all of that and so way more via her work with IWO. It’s why her friend and colleague Sandy Ward nominated her.
“She strives to break down the barriers that retain these females from recreational sports activities, including high expenses of gear and access to data,” Ward said in her submission.
“She provides a safe space for these females to learn and thrive within a very tough industry.”
And, the judges couldn’t agree more.
Lindsay Jones, wife of the late Tim Jones, said Antone was “a fabulous feature mannequin.”
“She selflessly helps other Indigenous females really feel safe and supported whereas inspiring them to reconnect with their ancestral land,” she said.
Peter Haigh, a North Shore Rescue member, said Antone deserved the popularity, and he hoped the spotlight helped her develop into higher identified, so she can encourage more participation in the exterior.
“Myia is re-introducing individuals of her society who would typically not learn to ride the great outdoors that a few of us care for,” he said.
“She is active in the exterior and encouraging others to ride the healing powers.”
‘Honoured’ to be identified for her work
Antone said she was “grateful and surprised” to obtain the Tim Jones Award.
“I’m very honoured that a friend nominated me,” she said. “I attain work really hard and I establish my head down, and that’s factual what I’ve always completed, and what I attain. So, to have folk that I really watch up to accelerate looking that in me, it factual means so considerable.“
She said it was “amazing” the award was now acknowledging younger generations.
“The reality is we’re going to be doing this work for a really, really long time, and to accelerate looking folk acknowledge that in us already, is really empowering and it makes me want to work even harder and inspire more folk,“ Antone said.
“I’m factual really enraged and I really hope that I can maintain Tim Jones’ legacy in a beautiful way and really honour his lifestyles, his spirit, and his family.”
Looking to the long escape, Antone hopes to grow the IWO community via a mentorship program with past participants.
“I hope that we are able to inspire other indigenous folx to want to examine out these outdoors sports activities and have a base where we can encourage more and more folk,“ she said.
“I’d care for next year for folk to not have to ask me what my non-income is, but for them to factual know who we are and what we attain and know that our door is always initiate.”
How this young Squamish Nation woman is making a big difference in her community