A young Ojibway woman from Matachewan First Nation in northern Ontario has taken her outdoor skills to a new level.
Shawna-Lee Erickson has her own television series called Wild North Adventures. She has signed a deal with Wild TV for a second season with four national networks.
What started out as a personal project, has gone national.
“I started filming my own hunts and just putting it on YouTube and then I guess, the hunts got put to the CEO of Wild TV, Canada’s leading hunting and fishing network and they approached me and said ‘hey, would you like a television show,’ and I said of course yes,” said Erickson.
She not only shares her hunts or fishing expeditions, but Erickson uses the platform to share her First Nations culture and hunting heritage.
After receiving hate mail, she feels a responsibility to educate about a field to table lifestyle, said Erickson.
“The biggest negativity that I think I receive is just our hunting rights. People are uneducated that we don’t follow the same rules as the government sets out for the majority of people, so we follow obviously, a different set of rules and people just don’t understand that.
“So to be able to have a television show and show it as a norm, is huge for people and it’s such an honor to be able to show people that this is the way that we do things and to make it a norm is the most important thing.”
It’s also an opportunity to learn, said Erickson.
She and husband Kris (who does the camerawork) made the trek from their home in Kirkland Lake to Alderville First Nation located 140 km northeast of Toronto to film their latest episode.
They’ve come to hunt turkeys, something they’ve only done once before because there are no turkeys in the north.
“The simple skill of harvesting and cleaning a turkey is a pride for me.”
Erickson and Kris are currently hard at work, creating 18 episodes.
With no production training, “we lived and learned, our first season was a very eye opening, learning about things we should do, things we shouldn’t do,” she said.
“I loved our first season, we did over 1,000,000 views in the first five months on one national network, so we’re hopeful that we’re going to be in the multi millions for this season.”
Fans of “Wild North Adventures” will have to wait patiently, as the new season is scheduled to begin in July.