October 2015: Trip to The Pas and Kenora
I’m happy to be featured here as a guest author on a blog post. After a summer devoted to improving components of the Listening to One Another program, I had the opportunity to travel to The Pas, in northern Manitoba, and Kenora, in northwestern Ontario. Together with our very talented coordinators Ron (at the Cree Nation Tribal Health Centre) and Sheila (at the Kenora Chiefs Advisory), we discussed new additions to the program with our local facilitators and organized the technical, behind-the-scenes elements that allow the program to run smoothly for local youth and their families.
In The Pas, I spent a few quality days working side-by-side with Ron, who taught me all about the local scene as we shuttled between the various Cree Nation Tribal Health Centre offices and local businesses, compiling supplies for the three Swampy Cree First Nations delivering the Listening to One Another program in the region. On Thursday, October 1st, Ron and I hosted the facilitators from all the partnered communities in the region and brought them up to speed on some of the exciting changes we’ve made to our programming.
The next week, after a brief stay in Winnipeg, I was in beautiful Kenora, with Sheila, our regional Anishinabe coordinator. The two of us conducted our meetings while Sheila tended to her ceremonial responsibilities at the Grand Council Treaty #3 Fall Assembly, taking place in Whitefish Bay. The Fall Assembly provided the perfect chance for Sheila and I to meet informally with many of the Chiefs and Health Directors from the six Anishinabe First Nations that are delivering the Listening to One Another program this fall. New acquaintances were “all ears” to learn about our program, and excited about the prospect of introducing it to their communities.
After a productive couple of days at the Fall Assembly in Whitefish Bay, Sheila and I welcomed some of our facilitators to the new Kenora Chiefs Advisory facilities and discussed improvements to our program. We received a lot of positive feedback from the facilitators, which we are eager to integrate into future material for the Listening to One Another program.
In the coming month, we look forward to the inauguration of another year of the Listening to One Another program. I’m really fortunate to be working with so many enthusiastic people and communities.
-Eli Oda Sheiner