“Canada’s plan for long-term management of used nuclear fuel is known as Adaptive Phased Management (APM). This plan emerged from a three-year dialogue with Canadians between 2002 and 2005. It reflects best international practice and features considered important by citizens. The federal government selected APM as Canada’s plan in June 2007”.
– Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Safe and Secure Transportation of Canada’s Used Nuclear Fuel book.
Our community, Whitefish Bay F.N, is part of Canada’s plan for long-term management of used nuclear fuel. NWMO is already in the process of the plan in our area. We are currently being educated about what the NWMO project is, what the plan is, and how the plan and the nuclear fuel are safe. Another thing we are working on is bringing awareness to the project. When’s the last time you heard about Adaptive Phased Management? I am here to learn more about the project and to share all I can with my community. Let’s all learn a little bit more each day, my fellow peoples.
What is used nuclear fuel?
“Nuclear reactors in Canada are fuelled by natural uranium. The uranium is formed into ceramic pellets made from uranium dioxide powder and encased in zircaloy tubes called fuel pencils. These are welded together into bundles the shape of a fireplace log. Each bundle weighs approximately 24 kilograms. Each bundle is made of a strong, corrosion-resistant metal, called zircaloy”.
The Nuclear Fuel Pellet
What I learned is that Fuel Pellets are made from uranium dioxide powder, baked in a furnace to produce a hard, high-density ceramic. Ceramics do not readily dissolve in water and are resistant to wear and high temperatures.
The Fuel Pencil
A fuel pencil is like armour protection – in my head anyway. Fuel pellets are contained in sealed zircaloy metal tubes, called pencils. These are welded together into a cylindrical bundle. I have one bundle in my office! It’s so cool to see what they actually look like. Pay a visit to your local Naotkamegwanning Band Office and check one out, if you’re super curious! (Ask to see NWMO workers)
The Fuel Bundle
Each bundle is composed of fuel pencils and is made of a strong, corrosion-resistant metal, called zircaloy. Fuel bundles are roughly the size of a fire log and weigh approximately 24 kilograms. Before being loaded into a reactor, the radiation hazards associated with unirradiated fuel bundles are relatively low. Radiation dose from unirradiated fuel bundles is in the order of 0.05 mSv/h. When operational in a nuclear reactor, each fuel bundle can generate enough electricity to power up to 100 homes per year!
I thought the same thing any other human being would think: “What are the dangers?”. A lot came to mind, like maybe the nuclear fuel will fall and break, maybe the transports will crash and the nuclear fuel will take damage, maybe the fuel won’t be safe underground and in the future. But all of my concerns were answered over time the more I attended NWMO meetings, read up about it, and spoke more with the people who work with and alongside the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Canada and the people of this project’s main focus is the safety of every citizen The plan for long-term energy will be 100% safe for our kids, our kids’ kids, and so on. I, Laval, will be here to share all that I can with my community on our country’s future for long-term management of nuclear fuel.
Niigaan mikan waabooz obimikawewin. Mikan mitig ji aabijatooyan, ji bimaakositooyan goysk imaa, ge izhi dadibinaman nagwaaganeyaab ji nagwaazod waabooz. Amii ezhi badakidooyan niizh mitigoon gegekayii, ji ziinjising nagwaaganeyaab. Miinaawaa bookonan zhingobiins amii imaa izhi attoon niigaan nagwaaganeyaabiing.
Ani waabang wiiba gigaa naadagwe daga ji nagwaazod waabooz. Wiiba dash izhaa jibwaa awensii gimoodamik gidagoodoowin.
Go to the bush, find rabbit tracks. Find a place where you will set a snare for the the rabbit. First, find the rabbit tracks. Find a stick to place across for the snare, and then wrap the snare wire on the stick where the rabbit will be snared. Then you will place two sticks, one on each side of the snare to secure the snare. Break a branch and place it in front of the snare.
Next morning, go early and check to see if you snared a rabbit. You will have to go early so an animal does not steal your snare.
Ice fishing is one of many ways to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter months. Let’s face it, winter is and will always be part of our life for five months out of the year. In years past, we’ve enjoyed mild winters and have also had to contend with this thing they call the Polar Vortex – Yigh!
One of many ways I like to enjoy the outdoors is to go ice fishing on the many lakes that are within our area. There are so many ways to do this and still enjoy it to the fullest. Whether it is renting an ice shack for the day or using a portable ice hut, we can still enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of heat, especially during those cold days on the lake.
There are so many products on the market today that can make the day that much more enjoyable. Sometimes it can be overwhelming on shopping for such items, especially with all that they have on the market. For the beginner ice fishermen, there are certain tools and supplies that you will need to get started. Here are some of the essentials that you will most likely need:
Ice Fishing Rod/Reel Combo – A spinning outfit is probably the way to go, a medium 26 – 28” rod spooled with 8lb. test fishing line. This set up is ideal because it is versatile in a sense that you can catch the smallest Crappie to catching Walleyes and the fair sized Lake Trout that are abundant on the beautiful Lake of the Woods.
Manual Auger – I started out with a Bologna powered Auger, which is fine nowadays. They make them so well and so sharp without having to dish out loads of money for a gas powered or even electric powered auger. A manual auger is an inexpensive item that is essential to this sport. A 6” to 8“ auger is ideal because it is a practical size for pulling pan sized fish to trophy sized fish through the hole. You can find these at the local sporting goods store anywhere from $40 – $100.
Tackle – There are so many options out there that it becomes overwhelming in making the right purchase. I will break it down based on the three main sought after fish that can be caught on this lake:
Walleye – ¼ oz. Jig with any type of colour choice tipped with a live minnow; good for shallow or deep water fishing. A bright coloured Jigging Spoon ¼ oz. to 3/8 oz. tipped with a Minnow Head based on preference and water depth. You will mostly find these fish in 20 to 40 feet of water. Straight to the bottom is the way to go.
Crappie – 1/16 oz. Coloured Jig tipped with a live minnow or a micro tungsten coloured jig tipped with a live or plastic 2” mimic minnow. You can also use smaller jigging spoons as well. These fish can be found in back bays finding the deepest bowl of the bay in 10 – 30 feet of water.
Trout – A silver or gold coloured Spoon sized ¼ oz to 3/8 oz. is ideal, these fish are found in deeper water so it is a must to fish heavier type tackle. A white or pearl coloured plastic tube bait with a ¼ oz. to ½ oz. jig is an absolute must in trying to catch a Lake Trout, these fish are often fooled by this particular hook because of its erratic movement in the water column. These fish can be found in 20 to 100 feet of water, they suspend so they can be caught throughout all depths of the water column.
Ice Hut – This is optional, of course! If you plan on enjoying the heat of a portable heater or bringing kids to this adventure, then it is always good to have a portable ice hut. Whether it is a place to warm up or fish stationary, the luxury of heat on those particular days makes the day much more enjoyable for you, the wife and the kids. Try to go as big as your budget can go. A 3-4 person ice hut is size enough for your gear and visitors.
Be Safe – Always let others know where you’ll be fishing and what time you’ll be back. There are areas out there that are unsafe for fishing. Tag along with someone who knows the lake and you’ll find out right quick the knowledge to understand the importance of being safe on the ice. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the lake, they have apps that you can purchase on the smartphone – Navionics and Lakemaster are the ones primarily used in our area that will show the contours and depths of our lake and where you can locate some of the target species.
February 18, 2019 is Family Day, the community will often host a family Fish Derby during this day; they usually have awesome prizes and categories to the winners so be on the lookout for posters as this is a family affair. Try your luck and I’ll guarantee you will have fun doing so. Good luck, be safe and good fishing.
Calvin Joseph is currently the guidance counsellor at Baibombeh Anishinaabe School.
Earlier this month I attended a conference dedicated to youth of treaty three dedicated to the importance of mentorship in college or university.
Six of us high school students from Whitefish Bay attended the Grand Council Treaty Three youth mentorship conference held in Fort Frances at the La Place Rendezvous Hotel on January 11 and 12.
One of the things that stuck out to me was a presentation by Dr. James Makokis from Saddle Lake First Nation. He introduced himself in his language which is Little Boy Drum (Anishanabe name). He talked about his Cree background and how the Ojibway and Cree culture and language are similar, just taught differently and how the language is said. He also talked about the Alberta Jasper Park mountains and how you can see the marks left from the Creator and the great Nana Boozhoo.
Uniquely, Carol Easton the Fort Frances Tribal Health Unit gave a presentation about sexual education. During the presentation they talked about how to get tested and how the Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) are all different, how they affect the body, and how to receive treatment.
The next presentation was about human trafficking and how this sexual exploitation is happening around us. Speaking about trauma and survivors, they explained how one can recover from such a monstrous act with the help of support workers and seeking help. They explained that the main spots for human trafficking takes place in Fort Frances ON and Thunder Bay ON.
They did a demonstration on how young girls get caught by the traffickers. To explain, she set up a profile of a little girl (aged thirteen plus) and within twenty minutes that profile she made as an example got 35 friend requests on Facebook from older men, she also said that traffickers will use language like “I can help pay your bills”.
On the final day, they asked us to write down our insights and how we felt. Asking what we would like to see at the next conferences, many of us across the different nations said language and culture. When asked to share from our table, many of my peers asked if I would speak but I told them that I cannot always be responsible for them but to speak for themselves – that they have their own voice and experiences.
Corban spoke of our table’s suggestions on the next conference locations including Kenora and Winnipeg. Baibombeh teacher Roland White spoke saying he was happy to see youth engage in wanting to see more native language. He also recommended that the next time youth be split up so that they can meet each other better.
Isaac Kavanaugh is a Grade 11 student at Baibombeh Anishinaabe School.
My art was inspired by Pablo Picasso. Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He was an innovator of modern art, creating portraits through geometric painting.
My artwork has different shapes and lines. This style of art is called cubism, which is pictures broken down into shapes. The tools I used were pencil, pens, paint markers, and stencils.
I appreciate the style of cubism created by Picasso, which I used to create my portrait. I appreciate cubism because of the opportunity to use colors and all the shapes.
How to Play Crazy 8’s
By Carter Nash
I am going to teach you how to play a game called Crazy 8’s. First, grab a deck of cards and make sure it has 52 cards in the deck and shuffle them fast.
Take all of the jokers out. Make sure 2 – 4 players are playing. Ask your friends, classmates, and siblings. Anyone who is 7 and up enjoys a challenge.
Next, give each player 8 cards, then put the rest of the cards in the center where all players are able to reach the cards
Now, flip the card on the top of the pile to begin the game. The card will show the suit and the number.
If a person has a jack of clubs and puts it down. Another jack could block it or your wild card.
A wild card is the number your on.
The numbers go down from 8 – 1, for example (if you were on your 8 and on your last card you put it down if it matches with the suit or number, then you go to your 7’s, pickup 7 cards from the deck of cards).
The objective is to reach zero cards from 8 – 1 if you were on your 1’s you place it down because it matches the suit and you win.
If the pile of cards is done, pick up the cards you played and shuffle them in your hands.
The two’s make your left opponent picks up two from the cards and the ace will skip your left opponent.
This is how you play Crazy 8’s.
This exercise was towards the Ontario Writing Assessment in September. For publishing, the student has re-drafted his work.
Baibombeh Anishinabe School is pleased to inform our students that we have planned to launch a ‘Coding Club’. Living in an era of space, technology and online entertainment and communication, we are in a competitive, ability-centric world. Across the world, children are learning to code in elementary school.
There are some misconceptions or fears related to coding. For example, that you need pre-requisite courses, that it is very complicated/technical, that it is for math experts, or that it is very expensive to learn.
In this day and age, coding is an important skill that must be acquired during our initial years of learning. In fact, coding is just like learning a language. More specifically, it is knowing and understanding how to say something in different ways – the logic.
Anyone who has some interest and is a bit devoted, can learn it easily. All you need is your computer, Internet and the 3D’s: Desire, Decision and Devotion and the world is yours!
There are many advantages of learning how to ‘code.’ It’s a world full of job opportunities, being self-reliant and creative, and also provides an opportunity for self-employment, without leaving your home or community.
One can design games, develop your own Ojibway language software, build robotics and develop one’s own blogs and websites.
In short, technology has no limits. On your phones, computers and other gadgets, you are interacting with the whole world without leaving your home.
Learning basic code, you can prepare yourself and future generations by learning new skills and knowledge, as well as preserving culture, language and traditions.
During the month of October, Grade 4 students completed a social studies unit on Canada. They learned about the different regions in Canada and completed a poster research project based on one province or territory in which they then presented to the rest of the class.
Sagaate Ranville completed his project on British Columbia. “I learned that British Columbia is the third largest province and the most westerly province in Canada,” he said.
I’m very proud of the effort they put forth into researching some of the basic facts of their province/territory.
Grade 5 Pumpkin Carving
By: Lillianna Taylor White
It was a gushy day in the Gr. 5 classroom on October 23rd as we carved out pumpkins. We used a big spoon, our hands and knives to remove the insides.
We were separated into groups because there were only four pumpkins.
The pumpkin was slimy inside. It was gross. Our teacher, Charlene White, asked Breanna and Cody to cut out the top for us.
There was a lot of pumpkin guts but we kept the seeds, washing them in water.
The seeds were going to be cooked, but that never happened because it was so busy. We were all over the place and our teachers were busy so we had to clean all by ourselves.
In an interview, Ms. White said the idea came from when she taught grade 4 a few years back. She says it was to see what pumpkin can offer us.
She said she was disappointed that we ran out of time that day and couldn’t roast the pumpkin seeds. “It would have been an opportunity to let them try it,” she said. “You can put flavor on pumpkin seeds like salt and vinegar or ketchup flavor.”
We did do a draw to see who got to take the pumpkin home.
By: Jerrah Chesson
On Halloween, the costumes were cool and scary at Baibombeh School, when participants met in the gym for a costume contest.
In grade 5, Lilli was Samara from The Ring, Charlie was Pennywise the dancing clown, Hayden and Dominika were skeleton figures. I was in a black suit with glowing glasses. We also watched a movie and it was really scary.
“This year there was a zombie walk and I was one of the zombies,” said Dominika Oshie. “It was really awesome and really fun.”
The Emotionless Girl
By Emma Tom Paypompee
Raina is emotionless. She makes a lot of fake smiles.
She is 17 years old. She wants to make people happy so she pretends she has emotions.
When she was 13, people called her a freak because she was emotionless. When she was 15 she made four friends. Her friends would bully her and some didn’t want her to be her friend anymore. When she was about 16, she stopped acting that she had emotions. This made her parents sad.
She is 17 now – almost 18. She has a boyfriend now and he is kind. He teaches her two emotions, sadness and happiness. She told her parents and they are happy. She is happy. She is making new friends. She now has about six friends. Her boyfriend is happy that she has made a lot of friends. They teach her how to not be shy.
Her mother bought a house for her and her boyfriend. Her dad gave her money to buy food.
She is almost 19. When she is 19, she is going to look for a job.
She wants kids. She hopes her kids are not emotionless. She will try to teach her or him emotions.
Three years later, she is 21. Now she has a kid who is one year old. The kid is not emotionless, but she can read minds.
She is 30 and her kid is now nine. Her kids’ names are Kate, Jack and Sky. Kate is oldest, Jack is six, and Sky is two years old.
People call Kate a freak because she can read minds. Raina told her people called her a freak because she was emotionless.
Gr. 6 Poetry
By Virginia Loon
If I had one wish, I’d wish for thirst of knowledge unequaled by anything in my life.
Then I’d study, and nothing would stop me.
I’d learn French, German, Latin and Greek. I’d know a bit of Japanese and some Spanish, enough to get by.
I’d study molecular biology and physics, simply because they interest me.
I’d take judo, yoga, and taekwondo and the philosophies behind them.
I’d learn as much geography as I could but not the names: economics, industry, politics, religion.
I’d read about history, but not just the what and when, the who, the why, the how.
And no one would know. It would be me on my own, behind my jester’s mask.
I’d be happy.
The Story of Misuzu Sempai
By: Gwen Paypompee, Gr. 6
My name is Sempai-Chan. I am 17 years old. I am known as the bookworm. My story is about my powers. Funny, eh? No one really wanted to be friends with me just because of my powers.
My powers are mind-reading and I can actually read your mind! I really hope we can be friends. I actually have blue hair, with bright green eyes.
Everyone at the Akademi has brown, blonde, black, any type of normal hair colors (unless if they dye their hair, it’s still normal) and normal eye colors too! Oh, did I tell you? I’m half wolf! No, eh? Well, I really am half wolf!
I love it in the winter times, all the white snow, the cherry trees covered up in snow, so much more! But sadly, almost everyone at the Akademi bullies me. It became a bit physical ever since I got to middle school. Back in Italy I made friends. Now back here in Japan.
Make Sure Your Student Has Set a Goal
By: Ian Crow
First day of high school sets the path for all students. Registration isn’t just a day to sign up to attend. Registration could be the most important day for a student. When transitioning from junior high to high school, students have to have a goal in place. A student should be able to describe to the registration staff his or her learning objectives.
Starting school with a blank transcript only happens once. Grades have yet to be given. Grades given for each course at the end of the semester could have a positive or negative impact on a student’s career choice.
Perhaps a student enters into an elective in the thirdI am not sure what Ian means by the third semester semester and realizes, when it’s too late, that he or she is in the wrong course. They may find that they do not meet the criteria for entering their preferred program when they register for post-secondary programs. This is why it’s important for a student to know what they want to do in life.
When a student receives 30 consecutive credits in high school, he or she will have graduated “on-time”. These could be students who know what they want to do in life and have prepared themselves for further studies and ultimately a career.
Students may, at times, decide to take a slow and steady path, stretching their time spent in school. There is nothing wrong with that, as long he or she is pondering life choices and are headed in the right direction. Students have until the age of 21 to graduate conventional school. Accelerated education is preferred amongst most educators, simply for quality of life purposes. Time spent in school should be kept at a minimum. Youth should experience more in life rather than staying in high school for an extended amount of time.
It is in the best interest of the student that they have a goal. Educators work well with students who have a plan. Deciding what work to assign and courses to offer is paramount to any educator. To stray off a student’s chosen path would be a waste of everyone’s time and efforts.
Equipping a student with the necessary tools to continue his or her educational path is a priority for Baibombeh Anishinaabe School. We wish to provide confidence in their choices and inspire them to work hard on a regular basis. We wish to open their minds and provide them guidance when it comes to choosing a path. A student’s journey begins with their aspirations. Doors are opening all the time. Students must grasp their dreams and work towards them.
Veteran George Crow
By Damon Hunter
For this year’s Remembrance Day, Cody Crow submitted photos and information about his father, George Crow. A poster hangs in the school in his honour. His father, George, was born on March 12, 1940 in Morson, Ontario.
At the age of 29, George signed up with the US Army. Stationed in Germany, he trained recruits to operate tanks. After the war he came back a hero. He was elected chief, and had also taken on the duties of councilor.
He enjoyed singing alongside the community country music club and was regarded as a talented artist.
Girls Wanted: 2018-2019 Curling Season has Begun
By: Sharia Yomi
We had our first curling practice on Tuesday, November 13th. Team members Danton Monias, Corban Crow, Connor Kakeeway, Drayston White and myself are trying out our first year in NORWOSSA Curling League.
As for the rest of the team members, Ireland Bird, Xavier Ranville, and Adam Skead, this will be their third year in the League.
Our coaches, Brooke Swoffer and Jordan Marchand, have taught some of our new members how to slide with sliders. It was not easy at first, but the team got the hang of it.
We only have two girls on our team. I suggest more girls or women should come on out and join our junior and senior curling teams.
Music Club 2018/2019
By: Mike Tokarz
Baibombeh Grade 4 Teacher/Music Coordinator
This school year, Baibombeh Anishinabe School is proud to be able to offer a musical program to our students. Through funding over the last couple of years, we were able to purchase a wide assortment of instruments, from trumpets, trombones, flutes, clarinets, alto saxophones, violins, guitars, drums, percussion, and keyboards.
The Grade 4 classroom is home to all of these instruments and they can often be heard in the afternoon from both ends of the school. The program is available to students from Grades 4 to 12. Students are currently working on learning to operate the instrument as well as proper posturing. We are also preparing for this year’s Christmas Concert.
I myself have played Alto Saxophone all my life and I look forward to passing on my knowledge of classical music to future generations and helping this program continue to grow and thrive in our school.
Jazlyn Copenace is working on learning how to play keyboard and alto saxophone in Music Club. “Music Club is really fun. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument,” she said. “I hope to start a band in the future.”
All members of the community are welcome.
Music Club Weekly Schedule
Monday – Grade 4 Music Club – 12:20 to 12:50pm
Wednesday – Grade 5 Music Club – 12:20 to 12:50pm
Thursday – Grade 6 to 12 Music Club 12:20 to 12:50pm – Grade 4 to 12 Music Club 3:30 to 4:30pm
Elders and youth come together for a three-day cultural knowledge sharing camp at Naotkamegwanning Roundhouse
By: Carter Nash, West Ranville, Jaryn Joseph, Arianna Jack
The sound of drumming, the smell of smoke, the scraping of rock, and the popping of wild rice were sights and sounds of pride at the Naotkamegwanning roundhouse.
Dylan Jennings was one of many cultural trainers parching or harvesting wild rice at the first annual Shawendaasowin Cultural Camp held on October 23-25, 2018.
Jennings, or Maskode Bizhikiins, (Little Buffalo) of Bad River Band of Lake Superior says he started harvesting as a young person. “I was probably 10 or 11 when I went out harvesting with my cousin,” he explained. His grandma, aunties and uncles taught him how to harvest manoomin.
As part of his identity as Anishinaabe, he said, “Harvesting connects everything in creation.” He remembers important virtues such as patience, respect and love.
“Harvesting wild rice is a lot of work, but necessary,” said Jennings. “It makes us hard and honest workers when we remember how to do things the old way. It also helps to keep us grounded and humble.”
Jennings said he enjoyed the dialogue between the young people and elders. “It was invaluable to hear the experiences of the elders and the way they used to harvest and live.”
He said he enjoyed being in the community and sharing his knowledge. He was happy that Shawendaasowin invited him. “The community is truly blessed with so many great teachers, young people and knowledgeable elders,” said Jennings.
The cultural camp involved people from in and out of the community, including students from Kenora’s Beaver Brae Secondary School.
Other cultural workshop activities included community art, tikinagan baby carrier making, deer harvesting and hide scraping, ribbon skirt making and soapstone carving. Daily feasts followed. A traditional powwow closed the event.
Carmen Bird, or Giizhibabenacesiik of the Sturgeon Clan, is Director of Services for Shawendaasowin Child and Family Services. “We don’t usually see cultural activity event opportunities in our community, so this is one of the things we were able to bring forward because of funding that we have received,” she said.
The idea for this cultural camp came from the Jordan’s Principle Initiative. Jordan River Anderson was a young Cree boy from Norway House, Manitoba who didn’t get the service that he required and he had to be away from home to receive medical care. He had to stay in a hospital, and while there, he passed away while the provincial and federal governments argued over who should take responsibility for his costs and didn’t speed up any process for him to be at home where he should have been.
Funding from Jordan’s Principle is to provide students, youth and children access to required services at home. The cultural camp fell into this category.
Bird believes it is important to retain cultural teachings and traditions from elders within the community. “We can come together once in a while with educators, our skilled people, the ones who have talents, our organizations and our elders.”
She said Shawendaasowin plans to host future cultural camps.
Freeman White Jr has taken the opportunity to visit his home town of Whitefish Bay, this time working with Right to Play under Kenora Chiefs Advisory.
“I wish that I had this when I was a kid,” he said in an interview with Virginia Loon.
Right to Play was founded in 2000 by Olympic gold medalist Johann Olav Koss and has since grown worldwide. Right to Play serves 85 First Nation communities in Canada.
He said his goal is to provide a safe space to play and learn – including sports, cooking classes and a place to do homework.
“I have hopes that Right to Play can inspire youth to achieve their wildest dreams, either through the programs or just by talking with the kids that are involved,” he said.
Currently he comes to the school to Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. Starting in mid-January, he will be here on Saturdays to coordinate volleyball games with nearby reserves under the program.
He said he would like to deliver this program to ages 6-12, which is what the “After School Program” is designed for, but persons of all ages are welcome.
“I am aware that there are other programs that are being delivered to youth on a daily basis. I would hope to collaborate with them and not compete,” he said.
He is here with the program for ten months from November 5th to August 31st.
At the peer helpers program in Kenora, Oct 14 to 16, the Kenora’s Chief Advisory, brought youth from different communities to train and become peer helpers. I went with my friends Jordanson, West, Carter, and our driver/chaperone Daniel (Hoss) White. Health services chose us to go because we are team players and have a lot of friends. We had to ask what a peer helper was and when we found out we were all too excited to attend.
On the first day, we sat and listened to the opening prayers and ceremony. The positive energy at Seven Generations was a feeling to remember. The smell of smudge flooded the building and our senses.
Throughout the first day, facilitators embedded positive thoughts in our young minds. Allan White, a member of Naotkamegwanning, taught us about our clans. I remember him giving all of the youth the microphone and telling us to say our clan and where we’re from and him telling us stories about each of our clans. I was eager to learn about about my clan. My great grandfather, Albert Crow, is a member of the Moose Clan. My grandfather and father are also Moose Clan. I learned that we follow our father’s clan.
Another important teaching was given by Kate-Lynn Paypompee, also a member of Naotkamegwanning. My favorite part of her presentation was when she gathered volunteers to help her show us what she was talking about. She had five of us come up and grab strings. They were all attached to each other and each one represented something. The first one represented me, the second one represented family, the third one represented friends, the fourth one represented community, and the last one represented the work we do. Then she balanced an egg between all the strings.
After she talked about our job and what happens when you lose it, the person representing your job let go. Then she talked about community and what happens when you lose that, then the person holding the string representing community let go, and so on, until there were two left holding the string with the egg in the middle. The person representing family let go and the egg fell.
Afterward, we had a presentation with elders and adults about helping the communities. The most interesting thing about the first day was listening to the elders speak and learning about the feather teaching. The feather teaching was very interesting to me because the presenter had drawn an eagle feather and showed us her eagle feather. There was a rough part at the bottom and that part meant the learning stage.
The learning stage was learning how to walk, how to speak, and how to eat. In the middle of the feather, there were these sides where it was uncombed. That represented the mistakes you made and where it goes like if you broke into a house or hurt someone on purpose. Then the top of the feather represents where you are more mature and have a better understanding of life.
We had a mental health workshop for an hour. The workshop talked about diabetes and suicide. The diabetes worker explained that youth should be sleeping for 8 hours and adults for 9 hours. There was a suicide speaker, and she spoke about what causes suicide and how we can help stop it.
The icebreaker activities we had two times a day were my favorite part in the program because they were games to enjoy and all the youth had to participate. Some games were embarrassing, but the more we played them, we didn’t care if it was embarrassing. The program taught me a lot of valuable life lessons by listing to our elders and adults.