At the end of the year, Manitoba Hydro sometimes has surplus vehicles that go to auction. This year, an opportunity came up to donate a truck to Waterways, an Indigenous non-profit organization that runs canoe programs in Indigenous communities.
Waterways partners with Indigenous communities across the province to run canoe programs that empower Indigenous youth and connect them with their land, culture, and identities. The programs take place in communities where Manitoba Hydro already has a strong presence of infrastructure, employment and engagement.
“The opportunity to get out and engage with the natural waterways is an inherently Indigenous activity. Because of colonization, it is not a reality for many communities,” said Caralynn Nault, co-director/Inter-community program lead at Waterways.
“Waterways didn’t have its own truck and had to rely on rental vehicles to bring canoes to our communities,” said Caralynn. “Having our own vehicle capable of towing a trailer full of canoes will give us way more flexibility. With a truck, we know we can get to whichever community when they want us there.”
Communities do not necessarily have the equipment and/or people to run these programs. Waterways brings equipment and trained staff to the communities so they can lead programming with their youth.
A multi-year plan
Over the next few years, Manitoba Hydro plans to continue support for Waterways by offering surplus vehicles or financial support.
“It’s exciting because we’re impressed by the work Waterways has already done in communities we serve.” Jackie Britton, a community investment specialist at Manitoba Hydro. “We’re going to help them build their fleet so they can expand their important programming.”
Waterways is currently running their annual fundraising campaign under the theme Building a Bigger Boat – providing spaces for Indigenous youth to grow.