Jarret Nelson: Woodland Cree Trapper

Jarret Nelson is a Woodland Cree trapper from the Montreal Lake area of Saskatchewan. He’s a fourth-generation trapper.

“I learned most of these skills, if not all of them, from my grandfather, Pat Nelson. [He] raised me from a young age.”

“I have to thank my grandfather for what he’s done in raising me. Without the teachings, the knowledge, the abilities, and the skill he has passed on to me, I could not do the things that I do today with regards to helping my people teach the Woodland Cree lifestyle.”

The short film featured here follows Jerret as he tends to his trap line in winter. This is part of the traditional lifeway of the Woodland Cree that still exists in modern times.

Jerret is also the coordinator of Camp Hope. “My job is to oversee the daily operation of the camp. We work with families from Montreal Lake Cree Nation right now. We have six families per intake on a six week intake.” One of the issues tackled by Camp Hope is drug and alcohol abuse.

“I truly believe that taking our people back to the land setting, the cabins, the hunting, the fishing, the trapping, they gain a sense of identity. And during that time we help them with their drug and alcohol addiction. If there is any abuse that is happening, or has happened in their past, we have a mental health therapist. We also have an addictions worker who works with us. So, the main goal of Camp Hope is to create a healthier community one family at a time.”

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