Tbnewswatch Local News
Wednesday July 1 2015
12:51 AM EDT
2014-02-24 at 15:22

Breaking the cycle

Presenters Cam Meshake (left), Ryan Hunter and Meaghan Masakeyash display copies of the Feathers for Hope: A First Nations Youth Action Plan at the Thunder Bay release of the report at the Best Western Nor
Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
Presenters Cam Meshake (left), Ryan Hunter and Meaghan Masakeyash display copies of the Feathers for Hope: A First Nations Youth Action Plan at the Thunder Bay release of the report at the Best Western Nor'Wester Hotel on Monday.
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

Ryan Hunter wants to break the cycle of hopelessness for First Nations youth.

Hunter is a member of the youth advisory committee for the Feathers of Hope: A First Nations Youth Action Plan, a strategy created in partnership with the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth to address living conditions in First Nations communities.
The report, which was released Monday at news conferences in Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Toronto, is the culmination of nearly a year of forums and input from youth in 62 First Nations communities.

“It’s a strong means of unity,” Hunter said the Best Western Nor’Wester Hotel. “It’s all about power in numbers and there are little of us left and we need our people to be alive to go along with this movement.”

Nearly 200 youth participated in forums held in Thunder Bay as well as Fort Albany and Kashechewan First Nations beginning last March.
From those sessions, three key recommendations emerged and became the core of the action plan.

The first is to bring First Nations leaders together with the provincial and federal governments to address issues, the second is to include the youth in addressing the strategy and the third is to create a five-year plan.

It also calls on First Nations leaders and both levels of government to publicly declare their support for the plan within 60 days, along with creating a formal body to bring together government, youth and other organizations to look to create change in the lives of First Nations children and youth.

The report addresses 15 themes of issues facing First Nations youth such as suicide, addiction, education, mental and physical health and youth opportunity and leadership.

Even though there is such a wide range of themes, it quickly became apparent there was a strong correlation.

Hunter said each issue has the potential to affect a different issue, something he has seen first hand.

“One (issue) that I really felt passionate about was sports and recreation,” he said.

“Growing up in a First Nations community I feel that being 30 minutes isolated from town it’s hard to be part of the high school teams and it acts as a barrier.”

He added the sense of lack of inclusion from both mental and physical barriers can manifest upon mental health and feelings of hopelessness.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief Alvin Fiddler said it is a youth driven initiative and another voice calling for changes.

“I think that all of us who have seen this report look at it as a call for action,” Fiddler said.

“The issues they raised are still very much real in our communities. I can easily identify with what they talk about in the report.”

MP Bruce Hyer (Green Party, Thunder Bay-Superior North) applauded the plan but expressed concern that any changes would actually be brought to fruition.

“This is a wonderful plan and it’s very clear,” Hyer said. “The answer is that we have to implement it. Vision is a wonderful thing, a plan is a wonderful thing, but vision without funding is hallucination.”

NAN intends to declare their support, as Fiddler said youth will be invited to present the report at the next chief’s meeting in three weeks.


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socialist_fool says:
"Promote full integration"?? Yes, because that has worked SO WELL in the past.
I'm guessing many of you don't realize how much of an accomplishment it is that these kids are coming together for a worthwhile cause. There's so much apathy in the minds of young people these days, and then these kids (who face issues I bet many of you couldn't survive) start taking action to better their future and what do you do? You complain about the money, about political correctness... You're ignoring the point. I agree with adubs - shame on you criticisers. Do some research about the conditions of Aboriginal living (and the blatant apathy our government so kindly gives them). Good for these kids, and those supporting them. I'd rather spend money helping this program than spend tax dollars on prisons.
2/26/2014 10:45:08 AM
S Duncan says:
Everybody lives in different conditions regardless of race.

I cant own a house on a reserve any different than anybody else can. I also cant live in a mansion unless I pay for it, no different than anybody else.

A persons material shortcomings only come from their own personal shortcomings.

The government or any group or the number of meeings they have cannot change that.

Its every man for himself out there. Stop looking for others to boost you up, you have to do it yourself.
2/26/2014 11:29:56 AM
socialist_fool says:
"A persons material shortcomings only come from their own personal shortcomings" ?? Really? You're living in the dark ages, son. Guess you don't realize everybody's lives are the result of multiple interacting factors... yes, their personality and motivation, but also culture, government, economy, religion, media, access to institutions and technology. It's so much more than "personal shortcomings"
2/26/2014 2:04:33 PM
socialist_fool says:
Also, material shortcomings aren't even the issue here. They're trying to gain hope for next generation. Do you realize how high the rates of suicide are for young aboriginals? It's horrifying. There's obviously a cycle of hopelessness contributing to it, and I highly doubt that hopelessness comes from a lack of material wealth.
2/26/2014 2:12:36 PM
Eastender says:
Material wealth can be subdivided into material needs, and material wants. Needs being shelter, food, warmth, meens of transportation. Wants being skidoos, tv's, cell phones, etc. hopelessness definitely can come from a lack of these material necessities.

However the biggest contributor to hopelessness comes from a demoralized spirit. When you believe that your efforts will never amount to anything. But thats where the problem occurs, because of this false premise, that ones efforts are futile. So you throw up your hands and say whats the use, and, ergo, hopelessness. Start believing in yourself, and, never let that spark fade, and eventually it will burst into a flame. You have to start somewhere, so pick up that first brick and set it in the mortar. Hope is manifested from within, not from superficial material wealth.
2/27/2014 9:56:35 AM
adubs says:
Shame on all of you! The youth came together to address issues that they feel are important for their futures. Do us all a favour and read the report before you post your negative comments.
2/25/2014 2:39:36 PM
mostguysdo says:
A 5 year action plan means 5 more years of inaction. Something conrete needs to be done yesterday.
2/25/2014 12:46:45 PM
ricknb says:
Nice to see our youth trying to make change!
2/25/2014 9:17:50 AM
formula one says:
"Isolation"..."Lack of Inclusion". All the more reason to abolish the Reserve system and promote full integration.
2/25/2014 9:12:20 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
Someone there should be fired for simply mentioning theFACT tha they might have a problem or two, shoot the messenger-style, like how Tamara Johnson got railroaded by the local old boys club. Its all about political correctness and babying.
2/25/2014 6:27:44 AM
nvjgu says:
Change, issues, plans, That's all I got out of this story. What Changes, issues and plan's. There asking for money again for something.
2/24/2014 9:29:51 PM
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