The Pictou Landing First Nation, Pictou Landing Health Centre and the RCMP are hosting an event for young men and boys. The event, "Empowering our Youth through Promoting Wellness" is being held this weekend at the Debert Hospitality Centre.
Over the course of the weekend, participants will partake in activities such as drum and eel spear making, discuss topics including gender violence, addiction, anger management, coping skills, healthy relationship building and mental health. The boys will also participate in a naming ceremony and a talking circle.
Cst. Shaylene Sutherland, a member of the Pictou County District RCMP and one of the organizers of the retreat, says the goal of the retreat is to help young Mi'kmaq men and boys who face the highest risks of violence, poverty and addictions.
"Using culturally-appropriate teaching tools, we want to help youth become more empowered to develop their own code of honor principles focusing on violence prevention, building confidence, self-esteem and discovering their cultural identity," said Cst. Shaylene Sutherland. "This code of honor will guide these young men and boys throughout the camp and hopefully throughout their lifetime."
Fourteen young men and boys, ages 14 to 18, all from Pictou Landing First Nation are participating. They were selected to attend this retreat by the Planning Committee. The Committee was first created by Cst. Sutherland who reached out to the community and other agencies in hopes to involve members of the community who want to make a difference.
This is the second year for the retreat as last year the retreat was held for young women and girls. Given the success, the committee hopes to host the retreat each year, rotating between boys and girls and that it becomes a template for other First Nations Communities.