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Mentorship is the Key to Learning and Growing

By: Isaac Kavanaugh

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Roland White drafts ideas for the group (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

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.

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Corban Crow speaks for his table (Photo credit: Isaac Kavanaugh)

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.

The Responsibility of all to Our Environment

Xavier interviewing professor John Iacozza (Photo credit: Brooke Swoffer)

By: Xavier Ranville

Recently, I went to a two-day Youth Summit on Climate Change in Kenora with a few other high school students and teachers from across Treaty 3. It was interesting to learn about how climate change will affect the future. Speakers explained in what ways we will notice more climate change as time goes on.

I can already see what it’s doing to the planet and everything that lives on it. When I was a kid, there was a lot of snow, and we could build snowmen and go sliding, but now, sometimes the snow isn’t deep enough to slide and it isn’t that much fun and it’s also dangerous.

I’ve learned from the conference that we can prevent further damage from happening to our planet. This includes being aware of one’s own responsibility to stop putting pollutants into the atmosphere with their unhealthy daily routines.

Allan and Ryan White of Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Photo Credit: Xavier Ranville)

An example where climate change is being affected the most is in the Canadian Arctic. This was explained by one of the speakers, Dr. John Iacozza, a professor at the University of Manitoba, who has spent over two decades of living and researching in the Arctic.

Iacozza explained in an interview that it is in our lifetime that the effects of warming, on animals and people, will be irreversible.

He said that more recently, people are speaking about the lack of action on climate change and that more of his research and expertise is being called upon internationally.  

“More and more, it is understood especially in the Canadian government, climate change is happening and is a major problem in the north as well as the south,” he said. “There are steps being taken, especially with the engagement of the Inuit and the other communities in the north, to deal with climate change.

“To work with economic development in a more sustainable way, we can have both, we just have to do it in a better way that we have in the past,” he said.

Iacozza provided steps youth (and adults) can take in helping to reduce the impact of climate change in the north:

1) Appreciate that climate change is happening and understand that it’s happening and it’s not something that people have made up or things like that.

2) To understand that what we do down in the south effects what happens in the north.

3)  Start working with other communities in the north to better understand the impacts of climate change, and that economic development needs to happen in a sustainable way

On the second day, during our lunch break, the organizers handed us a set of questions to answer and hand in for marking. Near the end of the conference, they added up the marks to who answered the most questions correctly.

When they said that the winner was from our school, I wondered who it could be. Then they said my name! I walked up to the front table to receive a MacBook, then later took pictures with it and was congratulated.DSC_0266

The conference was hosted by Grand Council Treaty #3 and was held at Seven Generations Education Institute. Baibombeh Anishinaabe School student attendees were Isaac Kavenaugh, Ireland Bird, Danton Monias, Drayston White, Dorian Fair, Corban Crow, Carmen Loon, Mackenzie Blackhawk, Lucey Oshie and Xavier Ranville.