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Fundraising ideas

Hello everyone,

Time goes by quickly………We’ve almost finished our sessions. We have three more to go before the trip to Gesgapegiag. We are all excited to be a part of this cultural exchange. As we just received the French version of the interviews, we will take the next session to fill them out.

Parents and youths are still interested and involved in the program; they are building strong connections between them. It’s good to see that. They are now preparing their fundraising for the trip and they have planned three activities to raise funds:

  1. Torch walk (in a field with families) in May
  2. Walk-a-thon in June
  3. Spaghetti dinner in July

Their goal is to gather $ 1000. Hopefully they will acheive it!

Now, we are preparing to receive our guests from the Migmaq nation so it will be a pleasure to met them in July!

In peace and friendship,

Jacinthe Connolly and team from Mashteuiatsh


a beautiful view from a park in Mashteuiatsh

PlaygroundMashteuiatsh YouthMashteuiatsh

Visits to Quebec First Nations communities


Hi everyone!

I’ve been in Gesgapegiag and Mashteuiatsh several times since my last post.

Since May 2012, I have been travelling once a month to Gesgapegiag and once a month to Mashteuiatsh. These two First Nations are now working nearly for a year on their version of the intervention.

During the last months, we’ve been through revision and translation of questionnaires for youth and adults, the participating communities met a couple of times through Skype or conference call, and the sessions have been in progress in Mashteuiatsh since January. March 27th was their fourth session.

Gesgapegiag will soon end their adaptation of the intervention. All the material will be translated in Mig’ Maq, quite a job! Joanna Martin is undertaking this great work. Christiane Bernard made the poster above and also works on the adaptation.  The sessions in Gesgapegiag are scheduled to begin April 17th.

Teams are also in preparation for next summer’s trip. The host community will be taking care of the lodging, food and activities for the visiting community.

This experience is meaningful and very interesting. I feel privileged to accompany communities through this journey.


Audrey Vézina

Mental health adviser; FNQLHSSC.



My visit to the Splatsin community

In January I had the pleasure of spending several days with Splatsin community. Don and Deanna were wonderful hosts and I enjoyed the landscape and my time with community members. In particular, it was wonderful to see the creativity and energy that has gone into programming. The Splatsin Teaching Centre is a remarkable hub, filled with activities, ranging from small children to elders. I was lucky enough to attend a session of the Culturally-Based, Family-Centred Mental Health Promotion for Aboriginal Youth. There are few things that make this job more worthwhile than seeing and hearing from people on-the-ground how they are benefiting from and enjoying the program. Thank you to Splatsin for including me.

Joshua Moses, Project Coordinator

Cultural adaptation in Aboriginal mental health

On January 11th and 12th, 2013, Dr. Joshua Moses and Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, two representatives from the culturally-based, family-centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth project at McGill, paid a visit to Vancouver, British Columbia to discuss cultural adaptation.

The meeting brought together three projects across the country, all funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada, who are culturally adapting mental health promotion initiatives to fit an Aboriginal cultural context and ensure cultural relevancy. The primary purpose of the meeting was to begin to develop a toolkit on guidelines in cultural adaptation in Aboriginal communities for funders, practitioners and researchers based on the experiences of the three projects.

In addition to the McGill project, at the table were representatives from Manitoba, from the Towards Flourishing Project, and representatives from British Columbia from the Connecting the Dots project at the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division and the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. For more information on Connecting the Dots see www.cmha.bc.ca/connectingthedots or contact Trixie.ling@cmha.bc.ca. For more information on the Towards Flourishing project please email Farzana.Quddus@gov.mb.ca or Kate.Dubberley@gov.mb.ca.

During the first day of the two-day meeting each project presented on key learnings in cultural adaptation, based upon their work in their own projects. Although the primary focus was on cultural adaptation in Aboriginal communities, Manitoba also presented on potential considerations in cultural adaptation in an immigrant context. In the second day of the meeting, the team discussed the format of the toolkit to be developed and major topics that would be covered in that toolkit.

Although the toolkit is still under development, consensus was reached on the importance of several considerations when undertaking cultural adaptation work in an Aboriginal context, including:

  • The importance of relationship building to cultural adaptation
  • Ensuring a respectful and culturally competent process
  • Active involvement of Aboriginal communities in the adaptation process
  • The need for a flexible structure and approach to cultural adaptation order to promote cultural relevance and cultural safety
  • The importance of understanding fiscal year budget constraints and their impact on cultural adaptation work
  • The need to acknowledge the diversity and complexity of culture

These lessons and more will be discussed in the upcoming toolkit, providing policy makers, government, practitioners and researchers, with a needed overview of possible challenges and promising practices in cultural adaptation work in Aboriginal communities. The toolkit will also offer a literature review on cultural adaptation in both an Aboriginal and immigrant context and a scoping of Canadian cultural adaptation initiatives.

Stay tuned for future updates on the status of this cultural adaptation toolkit!


Caitlin O’Reilly

Canadian Mental Health Association




Update from the UNL team

February 28, 2013

As February is winding down, we are in the process finalizing the random selection of our families for the trial.  We have the final videos with footage shot in all four of our communities from our videographer, Elizabeth Day.  The final DVD includes 6 videos on topics ranging from Families, Culture, Tobacco, Anger, Relationships, and Refusal Skills.

As you may remember from our past post, our staff training was in December.  After training, we returned to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to adapt a few last items based on community feedback.  We have obtained final approval from our Institutional Review Board on the changes suggested by our facilitators.  We will begin pre-testing next week in one Ontario community and should be starting up in Manitoba in early March, as well.  
The community response has been tremendous.  Our onsite coordinator has received requests to provide the program materials to neighboring communities in Ontario, including Onigaming and Big Grassy and we have recently partnered in putting on a community meeting to discuss similar family based programs in Manitoba.
Devan Crawford, Director of Research Analysis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
NOTE: (Elizabeth Day is credited with Video Production; contact elizday@gmail.com for information on services). 


Deanna Leon from the Splatsin team shares some photos from the programme’s first graduation ceremony! While she is working on her blog post about the event, here’s a look at what the evening was like, with comments from Deanna. Thanks Deanna and Raven for the amazing photos!


The feast prepared by Erica and Kristi. Roast Baron of Beef, oven baked potatoes, vegetables, ceasar salad, buns, gravy and amazing cakeand cupcakes! (photo by Deanna)



The feast – we celebrated by having a dinner together surrounded by cedar boughs – to honor the youth and families. (photo by Deanna)


The Splatsin team: Co-Facilitator Jody Leon, Lead Investigator – Dr. Raven Sinclair, Facilitator Don Bennett, Elder Julianna Alexander. Missing Deanna Leon -Coordinator. (photo by Deanna)


All of the participants and their families were blanketed with Pendelton Blankets. One of the highest honors we can give. Participants were honored for participating for 16 weeks as part of a program that teaches them how to be stronger as people, stronger as families, stronger in their culture, stronger communication and decision making skills. They did a tremendous amount of work and self reflection. These families and youth are our future for a better tomorrow! Congratulations ♥ (photo by Raven)



It was great so see how hard the youth worked and their commitment to completing the program. Here is Maddie B, Craig B, Meagan B and Dallas B. So proud of you guys… our future leaders 🙂 (photo by Raven)

The Cardinal Clan – Candice, Vanessa C. Phoenix C and Orin C. Way to go!! (photo by Raven)


The drummers that honoured the youth and families and their achievements. Councillor Randy Williams, Bart Thomas, Julianna Alexander, Kukpi7 Wayne Christian and Marlene Squakin. (photo by Raven)






Talking and eating

Swampy Cree/Manitoba PHAC project update

Here in Manitoba we are preparing for training and implementation of the program.

We are in the final stages of completing the formatting of our own Swampy Cree version of the manual (including translation of weekly session titles into the Cree language). We have had numerous sessions at which Swampy Cree community members and project liaisons have worked to adapt the manual for their culture and communities.

Swampy Cree community members reviewing manual for adaptation

Also we are gearing up for our Facilitator Training scheduled for February 11 and 12 in Winnipeg. We are still in the process of selecting 2 facilitators for each community (1 lead and 1 co-facilitator). We have developed job descriptions for each of these positions and will use a pseudo application process for selection of the facilitators. Our Cree Nation Tribal Health colleagues will review applications for final selection of the facilitators. We hope to train 3 individuals from each of the 8 Swampy Cree communities, so that there is some extra coverage should one of the hired facilitators not be able to continue.

One additional component that we have added to the program sessions is the inclusion of healthy recipes that facilitators and families can choose from when preparing the food for each session. Ms Christa Bruneau-Guenther, who is of Aboriginal descent and works with community groups in Winnipeg, has provided some recipes using Aboriginal ingredients, one of which is attached (lentil soup). Christa gave a presentation of her work at our recent Swampy Cree project annual meeting, which was well received by the Swampy Cree community members.

Christa Bruneau-Guenther sharing her passion and ideas about healthy cooking with traditional foods at the 5th annual Swampy Cree project meeting in Winnipeg.

We are looking forward to being able to train facilitators, recruit families and implement the program in the coming months in the Swampy Cree communities.

Corinne Isaak

Commençant ce soir!


Mon nom est Jacinthe Connolly et je suis fière d’être une Innue de Mashteuiatsh au Lac S-Jean. Nous sommes 10 communautés de cette nation au Québec.
J’ai travaillé comme éducatrice spécialisée et intervenante dans le domaine psycho-social depuis 1997 pour différents milieux et différents groupes d’âges mais toujours auprès de clientèle autochtone ( milieu scolaire- Centre de réadaptation jeunesse- Maison d’hébergement pour femmes victimes de violence conjugale- Maison de transition pour hommes ex-détenus- Centre de réadaptation en toxicomanie pour adultes mixtes) et depuis 2008 je travaille pour le Programme Soutien Santé- Résolution des Questions des Pensionnats Indiens.

Avec ma collègue Meggie Noël (intervenante en santé mentale)nous adapterons notre 3e atelier. Nous avons présentement 4 duos mère/fille inscrit au projet. Les 4 mères sont toutes des enfants de parents ayant fréquenté les pensionnats indiens et toutes ont le désir d’acquérir de nouvelles habiletés concernant la communication avec leur fille.

Les participantes ont hâte de participer et de découvrir aussi la nation Migmaq. Je suis très contente pour ces candidates parce que je pense que sans ce projet elles ne pourraient peut-être pas se permettre financièrement un tel voyage dans la belle région de la Gaspésie.
Alors nous allons faire tout notre possible pour mener à bon port l’équipage de Desti-Nations qui débutera comme prévue ce soir, le 16 janvier 2013.

Jacinthe Connolly, agente interventions sociales- pensionnat indien

Starting this evening – January 16, 2013


My name is Jacinthe Connolly and I’m proud to be an Innue from Mashteuiatsh in Lac St-Jean. There are 10 communities from this Nation in Quebec.
Since 1997 I’ve worked as specialized educator and counsellor in the psycho-social field in different places with different age groups but always with First Nations people (through schools, a youth re-adaptation centre, a shelter home for female victims of domestic violence, a halfway house for male ex-inmates, an adult re-adaptation centre for drugs and alcohol addictions). For the last four years, I have been working in the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program.

With my colleague Meggie Noël, a mental health counsellor, we will soon adapt the third session of the programme. Presently we have four mother/daughter duos registered to the programme. The parents of the four registered mothers are former residential schools students. These four mothers would like to develop communication skills with their own daughters.

The group is looking forward to participate and also to discover the Mi’gmaq Nation through our planned exchange/visit as part of the programme. I am very happy for the participants because I think without the programme they wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to the beautiful area of Gaspésie.
So, we will do our best to bring the Desti-Nations crew to their destination and the activities will begin as scheduled this evening, January 16, 2013.

Jacinthe Connolly – Social Intervention Agent, Indian Residential Schools

A visit to Gesgapegiag

Last week I had the good fortune to take a trip with Audrey to visit with our partners in Gesgapegiag. Despite the ice storm we were able to take the beautiful drive from Campelton, NB, where we had arrived that morning on the over night train. We took part in a conference call for planning the cross community exchange with Masteuiash and Gespegiag. At the end of the program, as Audrey mentioned in a recent blog post, families from Gespegiag and Masteuiash will visit each other. They are preparing gifts and events, including a possible canoe trip in Gespegiag. It was heartening to see the creativity and engagement of these communities and I very much look forward to  hearing about their upcoming roadtrip (maybe I’ll be lucky enough to hitch a ride?) Above is a wonderful poster created by Masteuiash team announcing the voyog to take place in the spring.


Joshua Moses

Project Coordinator, Public Health Agency of Canada – Aboriginal Mental Health Promotion





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