2017 Training in Kenora and Winnipeg

On December 11, Dominique met with workers from the Kenora Chiefs Advisory organization who deliver programs and services to surrounding Anishinabe communities. The idea was to familiarize them with the BII-ZIN-DA-DE-DAH materials such as the videos and games that were created over the years. We played the ‘Fish and Canoe’ game (Session 9: Making Choices), which allows families to think critically on the beneficial or harmful use of a substance after reading a scenario on a playing card. Everyone had fun when trying to get to the top of this ‘snake and latter’ type of game. We also played the ‘Yarn game’ (Session 12: Building Social Support), which consists or saying things that we appreciate from each other, while the yarn is making its way to each participant showing that everyone is connected.

KCA workers playing the Fish and Canoe game

Then on December 12, we met with Elders. At each session, their Teachings and stories that relate to the weekly theme are so important for family wellness. When talking about the ‘Tree of Life’ activity, it generated the idea of creating a new video that would transmit Teachings about different trees.

Elders and workers at KCA

On December 13, we met with managers at KCA to discuss budget and program delivery.

On December 14 and 15, Cindy Piche and Dominique trained two new facilitators, Chanda and Kyle from the MA MAWI WI CHI ITATA Centre in Winnipeg and Michelle from the Canadian Mental Health Association of Manitoba. This new group has received their own funding from a private organization and will also be part of the ongoing program evaluation.

Dominique, Kyle, Michelle, Chanda and Cindy

With them, we reviewed the 14 sessions. At Session 1 (Welcoming Feast), we explained the Turtle game that is played with the ‘Value’ cards on the outer scales. The same board game is used at Session 2 (Family), but this time with the ‘Moon Cycle’ cards on the inner scales. Each time, tobacco cards are distributed to the teams. If needed, players can use a card to ask advice from the Elder.

Playing the Turtle game

We are almost at the end of 2017. We would like to take a moment to thank you all for the good work that was accomplished this year. We also wish you a wonderful time with family and friends during the Holiday period. Our hopes are that in 2018, the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong Family and School programs will be delivered in many communities. Looking forward to continue this work in progress…

From the former and current members of the research Team in Montreal: Laurence, Eli, Nicole, Cassandra, Amanda, Sophie, Gregory and Dominique : – )

To facilitators: We always appreciate getting feedback after each session. What about the Tree of Life activity? How is it working out in your community or school?


To consolidate the skills learned from session to session, each family will create a Tree of Life over the course of the program. Symbolically, the roots, trunk, branches and fruits represent: wisdom from the past, family values, skills, and ideas for the future. At the end of the program, the trees will be displayed on a mural showing the strengths acquired by the families: A forest of strengths.

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