Wampum is a one-week summer camp program for youth aged 12 to 14, hosted by the Aboriginal Ministries Circle and the Hamilton and London Conferences, at Five Oaks Education and Retreat Centre. The program is part of Five Oaks’ ongoing “Right Relations” programming, which promotes reconciliation and relationship building, in conjunction with the decolonization efforts of the Aboriginal Ministries Circle as the Indigenous arm of the United Church of Canada.
The program, which began in the summer of 2013, has the capacity to host 10 Indigenous youth and 10 non-Indigenous youth from Southern Ontario. The goals of the program are to bridge cultural divides and forge relationships and dialogue among young people, to educate youth on Haudenosaunee histories and culture, and to facilitate learning about the role of the United Church in residential schools and their present day reconciliation and healing initiatives. During the week, students engage in workshops and educational activities, and receive teachings about the natural history of the land as well as cultural traditions from a Haudenosaunee Elder. The youth also take a field trip to the Mohawk Institute, a former residential school, to learn about a key part of Canadian history that most are not taught in school.