Sharing Circle in The Pas (May 2017)

Dominique, Ron, Rosie and Eli

On May 23, Ron Cook, the regional coordinator, organized a sharing circle at the Cree Nation Tribal Health Centre in The Pas. Facilitators, who delivered the program in the Swampy Cree communities in 2016-17, were invited to provide feedback about the new updated Manual and booklets. Sylvia Grey and Patricia Anne Head from Mosakahiken, Jeff Easter from Chemawawin, Delores Hather from Wuskwi Sipihk, Catherine Rickard from Sapotaweyak, and Margaret Ballantyne from Pukatawagan told Eli and I about this year’s delivery. We were also honoured by the presence of Cornelius Constant, an Elder from Opaskwayak. Cornelius is collaborating with our team to translate Cree language video testimonies from Elders’ in the communities we’re partnered with. Future participants will be able to watch these videos throughout the program, and see Elders from their region speak on a range of different themes.

We’ll be using the feedback we received to improve next year’s delivery of the program. Here are some of our take home messages from this year’s meeting in The Pas:

  • Program deliveries will be streamlined if all the material is printed out before the start of the program.
  • Participants, and especially the youth, would appreciate if we reduced the amount of reading in the booklets and the questionnaires.
  • Three items motivate families to attend the sessions: the meal, the transportation (often provided by facilitators themselves), and the graduation gifts, which also act as promotional material for the program, as word of mouth spreads in the community.
  • The Elder’s teachings and stories captivate youth and adults, and participants are especially receptive when the Elder offers Cree teachings.
  • The booklets play a key role in stimulating discussion. It may take some time before participants feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
  • Participants really enjoy the Yarn Circle activity. Facilitators report that parents and youth appreciate the opportunity to reflect on one another’s good qualities. The web of thread helps ilustrate how participants are interconnected and impacted by one another.
  • The cultural components are important since the youth in some communities don’t have many opportunities to learn their language or other links to the Cree culture.
  • The sessions provide a space where people can rally around one another to support one another. Facilitators see the program as a platform that allows them to share their vision for their communities.

On behalf of all our teams across Canada, we also would like to congratulate and wish a lot of happiness to Rosie Agecoutay who is getting married this summer. Similarly to Kim in Kenora, Anne in Splatsin, and Michel in Montreal, Rosie is the CNTHC financial person who balances budget and expenses. She has also shared this kit below.

Thank you to all of you for your meaningful work.

Dominique : – )

Rosie has made this Anti-Depression Kit:

PENNY so you will never say, “I’m broke“.

An ERASER so you can make all your mistakes disappear.

A MARBLE in case someone says, “you’ve lost your marbles“.

A RUBBER BAND to stretch yourself beyond your limits.

A STRING to tie things together when everything falls apart.

A HUG and KISS to remind you that someone, somewhere cares about YOU!

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