Training in The Pas

Picture it.

It’s early January 2020 and it’s the dead of winter in Manitoba.

Two women embark in the worst Jeep Laredo to have ever existed and head north from Winnipeg to The Pas, a picturesque town, located on the convergence of both the Pasquia and the Saskatchewan River.

Their goal was to facilitate an exciting training session of the Listening to One Another Program that was organized collaboratively with a long-time partner of the project, Cree Nation Tribal Health Centre. Stopping only for sustenance, bathroom breaks, and pictures of giant grouse, the 7-hour drive was an intense adventure that Michelle and Michaela both enjoyed and endured.

Finally, they arrived at The Pas and were amazed by the vibrancy and activity in the town, as many travellers and workers pass through on their way to the North. Having a day to prepare before the training, Michaela and Michelle took advantage of the opportunity to explore The Pas and its surroundings, stopping at local hang outs like Miss The Pas and visiting the stunning Clearwater Lake, where they braved the -45 degree weather to take pictures at “golden hour”. Later in the evening, they even headed out to see an exciting hockey game and cheered on the local Opaskwayak Cree Nation Blizzards!

The next day was the first of the two-day training sessions, where both Michelle and Michaela got to meet community members from Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, Pukatawagan (Mathias Colomb) and Sapotaweyak Cree Nation. The training group included 6 incredible women (2 from each community), all of whom play important roles in their respective communities. Everyone brought their own expertise and expertise working with youth and families to the table, and this diversity led to informative and engaging discussions about program implementation!

It was so amazing to hear about the programs and activities already ongoing in the communities, and how LTOA could be integrated. For example, Irene mentioned that in her community, Pukatawagan (Mathias Colomb), children design and sew their own regalia, which they then showcase at an exciting fashion show in The Pas! Irene believed she could see the LTOA program merging with this annual event. The other attendees of the training session loved this idea and perhaps a collaboration among LTOA groups in the future may be possible!

One of the poignant moments occurred towards the end of the training when we all stood up to play the Yarn Game. The Yarn Game is an activity in the LTOA program that encourages youth and families to compliment each other as the yarn is passed across the circle. Since we were wrapping up the two days of training, we decided to focus our question for the game on what we learned during the training. Everyone shared how they were feeling and what they learned, creating a warm bond between all the women attending. We were even so fortunate to have Christina (Pukatawagan (Mathias Colomb)) sing us a beautiful honour song, which was deeply appreciated by all.

This two-day training in The Pas was an exciting and informative event, made all the better by those participating in the training! We really want to thank Cree Nation Tribal Health again for all their work creating this training opportunity. We also want to thank Christina, Irene, Frankie, Elvira, Luella and Carla for all their participation and insight, and look forward to hearing about the implementation of LTOA in these communities!


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