Places

Where this is taking place?

Eskasoni

Eskasoni

The Eskasoni First Nation is a band government of the Mi’kmaq located alongside the Bras d’Or Lake on Eastern Cape Breton Island, a rural region of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The community has a population of approximately 3,490 on-Reserve and 592 off-Reserve. Eskasoni has its own community-operated school system from kindergarten to grade 12. The community is accessible only by road. Eight youth participated in the study. Three of these participants were young women (aged 17 and 18), and five young men (aged 14 and 15).

Findings

In order to do well, youth from Eskasoni require family and other relational supports, access to and engagement with culture, strong personal attributes like self-esteem, and finally holistic education. For these young people, engagement with culture includes opportunities to socialize with elders from whom they can learn about their heritage; opportunities to learn and speak their language; and maintaining cultural practices such as respect for others and the environment. Participants believe that personal attributes are strengthened and nurtured through both positive feedback from others (such as parents, teachers and friends) as well as successes and achievements in the things youth are good at.

Of course to achieve success with their talents, youth need access to community-based resources that will allow them to develop these talents – like libraries and sports resources.

Youth also believe that the cultural and geographic landscape of the community is key to doing well and aligns with the educational aspects of young people’s resilience resources. While the school setting provides more formal and curriculum based approaches to supporting cultural engagement (such as Mi’kmaq emersion and cultural curriculum), connections to culture and community are also fostered through sports activities, recreational resources and community activities. The basketball coach for example bases much of his strategy on the notion of respect for nature, others and elders. The community has integrated interactive cultural components to the community park, ‘Goat Island’ – where, many youth explain they go to train, run, or just hang out. The Band council also often organizes ‘garbage derbies’ – community events aimed at community clean-up and building community connections. Youth feel that these aspects work together to support young people be happy, healthy and contributing members of their community.

Youth in Eskasoni presented findings from the study in a mural painted on the wall of the mental health crisis center, where a community healing garden and picnic area has been developed by other youth from the community as a community resource.

We have created a video of the mural making process to ensure the message is mobile.

In addition to the mural, some youth have created posters that reflect the themes they feel are key to the study’s findings in their community.

These posters are available as post cards. Both the posters and postcards have been returned to the youth, their community, and their local government to use and distribute as they see fit.

Hopedale

Hopedale

Hopedale, known in Inuttitut as Agvituk, is a remote town of approximately 556 people, located on the North coast of Labrador, in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The region is officially considered part of the Canadian North. Hopedale is the legislative capital of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Settlement area for the Nunatsiavut Government. The population is predominantly Inuit. The local school is overseen by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (Labrador Region). Access to Hopedale can only be attained year round by small multi-purpose twin-engine, high-wing aircraft or helicopters, and is therefore considered a fly-in community, with no roads connecting the community with the rest of the province. Between June and November the M/V Northern Ranger ferry connects Hopedale with five other communities within the Nunatsiavut region, as well as Happy Valley -Goose Bay. In winter the community can also be accessed via snowmobile. Eight youth participated in the study. Five of these participants were young women (aged between 15 and 17), and three young men (aged between 13 and 17).

Findings

Youth from Hopedale emphasised the importance of their family and friends in doing well. Youth are proud to be from this community, commenting often on the beauty of their surroundings, and that they would not choose to live elsewhere. While youth enthusiastically shared photos that showed the beauty of the nature that surrounds them, they also noted that despite their appreciation of nature, they ordinarily find themselves indoors on Facebook and gaming systems rather than outdoors.

Youth discussed the importance of wild food and being out on the land. It is interesting that when some of the youth were asked whether they would attend a program that took them out on the land, they replied that they would not. They explained that they already go off on the land with their parents, emphasising the importance of creating opportunities for youth to engage in unstructured activities that form part of their everyday lives.

Similarly youth emphasized the value of their community, both in terms of supports and contributions. They all discussed the importance of helping out others in their community and gave examples of what they might do to help someone out: give them a ride home on a particularly cold day, help chop wood, and help grandparents with housework. They also discussed that they enjoy knowing everyone in their community and the safety they feel at home. These components of community networks and cohesion are the reasons youth give for wanting to stay in Hopedale.

Youth in Hopedale chose to produce posters of their findings, using the photos they took for the research and writing messages on them.

These posters are available as post cards. Both the posters and postcards have been returned to the youth, their community, and their local government to use and distribute as they see fit.

Port Hope Simpson

Hopedale

Port Hope Simpson, founded in the 1930s, is a remote town of 441 located on the southeastern Labrador coast, in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The region is officially considered part of the Canadian Far North. The community falls within the NunatuKavut region, and the population is predominantly southern Inuit-Metis. The local school is overseen by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District School Board. While access to the town has been facilitated by the expansion and completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway through the region, weather conditions often impede road access, rendering the two predominantly a fly in community. Nine youth participated in the study. Five of these participants were young women (aged between 12, 14 and 17), and four young men (aged 12, 14 and 17).

Findings

Youth in Port Hope Simpson appreciate the nature that surrounds their community, and what is available to them through this natural environment. Several of the youth commented for example, that winters with more snow are better than those with less. An abundance of snow allows them to be outdoors skidooing and snowshoeing.

Ability to move about in winter is also important to youth who appreciate being able to drive their skidoos. Younger youth remember vividly the winters before they were old enough to drive skidoos, when they had more restrictions placed on them by their family. They talked about the freedom that comes with being old enough to drive a skidoo and the related opportunity to go to more places resulting in less boredom. They note that in previous years technology was their primary source of entertainment when bored.

With regards to technology, youth are also articulate about the importance this plays in their lives and the amount of time that they spend using technology. Though they acknowledge that they only use technology when they are bored: if they can’t find anything else to do, they will go on Facebook, play video or computer games, and other forms of technology.

Engagement in cultural activities such as hunting, fishing, or boil-ups does not feature prominently in the narratives of youth from Port Hope Simpson, despite clearly spending a lot of time doing these things. Instead, they think about their culture more generally, reflecting on the outdoors and their appreciation of living in a small town. Culture to them appears to be about appreciation of the outdoors and the freedom it provides as well as the safety of living in a small town. While youth still discussed hunting, fishing, and boil-ups as fun activities to do, because they were not regular activities they did not consider them part of their culture.

Youth in Port Hope Simpson chose to present findings from the study as a mural painted on the wall of their community hall. We have created a video of the mural making process to ensure their message is mobile.

In addition to the mural, some youth created posters that reflected the themes they felt were key to the study’s findings in their community.

These posters are also available as post cards. Both the posters and postcards have been returned to the youth, their community, and their local government to use and distribute as they see fit.

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