My personal experience with Newbery’s Canoe Pedagogy is in the form of a horse trail ride at Dallas Valley Ranch Camp. Camp is a very Western view of when and where wilderness takes place, but this was quite the opposite from what I actually experienced. It was an experience that was enjoyable, but not educational. Although, I do not think children would want to go to camp if education replaced fun.
My camp/wilderness experience was very Euro-western which may be because it is a Christian camp. This is ironic because the Dallas Valley Ranch Camp is in a valley which has wilderness everywhere! The trail ride represents an untraditional exposure to the wilderness by experiencing it from a horse’s back, whereas, traditional nature walks are usually by foot. Dallas Valley staff even calls horseback riding, Western riding, as advertised in their 2017 pamphlet, therefore, reinforcing a Western ideology throughout. In addition, the campers did not learn about what Treaty land we were on. If the Christian camp acknowledged Aboriginal aspects, it would have been a great opportunity for reconciliation.
The tree in the background of my visual represents the lack of EE during the trail ride. The wilderness around campers is seen, but not acknowledged, because that’s not the focus of the trail ride. The focus is to improve campers’ riding skills.
The rigid shapes of the pictures illustrate the rigid and constructed ideas about Western ideology about what wilderness is. The ideas presented here are not very flexible to a Westerner. Some Western ideas of what wilderness is, as discussed in class and among my own thoughts, are: unknown, bears, forest, outside, exploring, dangerous, natural elements, untouched, freedom, peaceful, isolated, etc.
Also, the wilderness is a camping experience in a Euro-western ideology. Camping involves looking at the stars, having campfires and just having fun due to many of the previously listed ideas of wilderness. The difficult topics of Aboriginal peoples or colonization does not come into conversation, because people want to experience the wilderness as “a playground for elite tourists seeking comfort and adventure” (Newbery, 2012, p. 36).