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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Holly Paypompee of the Nataawgonebiik Health Centre displays some of her colleagues work (Photo Credit: Sandra Tom)

By Sandra Tom, Columnist

At a health fair with Kenora Chiefs Advisory/WNHAC Health to promote healthy living in the community, I came across this simple but understandable example. Now located in the waiting room of the Naotkamegwanning health clinic, I am showcasing just how much refined sugars in commonly consumed drinks. Refined or processed sugar, unlike natural sugars found in fruits are the largest factor for diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body can not properly store and use sugar that comes from food and beverages taken in.

How to prevent? Get tested once per year, whether or not you believe you are at risk.

Rethink before you drink:

Coke : 14 spoons

Gatorade: 11.5 spoons

Ice Tea: 10.5 spoons

Sunny D: 4 spoons

Vitamin water: 8 spoons

Red Bull: 7 spoons

What are the alternatives for other drinks: Water, infused fruit flavored water, teas without sugar, and an Anishinaabe twist – spruce tea.

Why is this important to me as a health care worker?

I’ve been a health worker for so many years and I’ve seen so many people go through amputation due to diabetes. It is why care to help the community to live a healthy lifestyle by promoting health related workshops. Our biggest community event is the Biggest Loser Challenge from May to August.

Sandra Tom is the Community Health Representative at Nataawgonebik Health Services.

Naotkamegwanning Ambulance Services

Gabriel Barnes and Dean Smith pose outside of the Naotkamegwanning EMS building (Photo credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

By: Okima Paypompee

On October 15, Primary Care Paramedic Gabriel Barnes of Naotkamegwanning Ambulance gave Layla Monias, Arianna Jack, Angel Cowely, Ozaawaa Paypompee and I a tour.

InterviewingEMS - Ozaawaa Paypompee
Inside the Ambulance (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

He took the time to show us the ambulance truck sirens, turned on the lights for us, and showed us all the different types of equipment that is used to save lives.  This included a monitor to check the different heart beats.

Paramedic Gabriel Barnes showing different heart monitor (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

They have a competition to see who can raise the most for the community Toy & Food Drive.

Paramedic Gabriel Barnes (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)
Paramedic Gabriel Barnes (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

There are currently 32 staff employed at the Naotkamegwanning Ambulance. They are open 24 hours. Call 911 in an emergency.

A Safe Space to Grow

By Katherine Adams

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.

Freeman White Jr. participates in many sports activities, including baseball (Photo Credit: John White)

“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.

Becoming a Peer Helper

Kenora Chiefs Advisory - Nov 17 - Peer Helpers
A sign displaying the event’s title is help up for display alongside organizers and participants (Photo credit: Kenora Chiefs Advisory)

By: Corban Crow

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.