“The Oakville Kids from Hockey Cares just returned from Attawapiskat, First Nation, where we had the opportunity to experience life in a northern Indigenous community. We were received warmly from our friends that we made during the summer and the entire Attawapiskat community. The elders were kind enough to share their knowledge about the relationship between the Indigenous community and mother earth, wildlife, and our responsibility to each other.
Experiencing some components of the culture included being in a winter camp, preparing wild game, cooking, and feasting on a traditional goose and dumpling lunch. We bonded with our Attawapiskat peers through activities such as playing hockey and basketball, dancing, games, and just hanging out together and talking.
This was one of the best experiences we have ever had, building new friendships that will last a very long time.
– From Charlotte Bolduc, Oakville Youth and Hockey Cares Youth Ambassador
Three of the four MTS chapters completed period product drives this fall and are wrapping up their shipments for northern communities.
SK, ON, and BC were able to collect enough to surpass their 2 million product donation, an exciting milestone they were hoping to achieve this year. Our Manitoba chapter is awaiting the arrival of its newest family addition and is taking a short break.
Another exciting partnership came out of this year; Joe Fresh is donating 10k period underwear and Shoppers Drug Mart is donating $100,000 through their LOVE ME program.
The group continues to meet with the Women and Gender Equality Ministry of the Federal government to discuss the possibility of menstrual equity funding for northern regions.
Lots of exciting and meaningful milestones achieved this year.
True North Aid hosted its first ever retreat from October 21 – 23 at Queen’s University Biological Station north of Kingston, Ontario.
Becoming Kin Retreat brought together 27 individuals from across Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia who explored how we can reimagine reconciliation in Canada.
Based on Patty Krawec’s book Becoming Kin, An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future, the weekend’s program was facilitated by the author herself, who is of Anishinaabe and Ukrainian heritage. Retreat participants considered the questions, what does it mean to be good kin? what do we do with those ancestors we would rather not claim? Can we reimagine the relationships we have inherited? And how do we take up our responsibilities to each other?
Patty was joined by author and lecturer Alexis Shotwell, who brought the conversation and considerations to a practical level, by engaging non-Indigenous attendees in anti-racist dialogue.
The retreat’s itinerary embedded ample time for Patty to read segments from her book, share her life experiences as an Indigenous woman challenging participants through active listening and thought-provoking exercises.
The generous amount of free time built into the program, combined with delicious meals and new friendships formed, participants departed with newfound energy, language and skills to bolster their journey of reconciliation.
True North Aid looks forward to hosting two additional Becoming Kin Retreats in 2023.
True North Aid created the Settler Discussion Series in response to the momentum of Settler Canadians who were deeply grieved by the recoveries of the 215 residential school children at Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 27th, 2021 and the subsequent findings of additional unmarked graves across the country.
Participants are challenged by learning about current tensions and injustices against Indigenous people and how they are a direct result of the motive of those in power pre and post Confederation Canada
The Settler Discussion Series encourages settlers to learn the truth about non-Indigenous/Indigenous history by addressing the topics of Settler/White Privilege, Land, Residential Schools, and Allyship in a factual way.
Katie Koopman, True North Aid’s Reconciliation Program Coordinator, will host a public Settler Discussion Series Tuesdays in January beginning January 10th at 7pm EST. Each session is 1 hour long. Please register your attendance here.
To inquire about how your school, workplace, or faith organization can participate asa group fill out our inquiry home here.
The content of this discussion series has been vetted by Indigenous advisors who speak into the reconciliatory work of True North Aid.
To learn more, visit the Settler Discussion Series web page here.
Our Back to School Program was a hit this year, delivering just over 2000 backpacks and supplies to 16 remote Indigenous communities across the country. Special thanks to all of those who donated towards this program. Our goal is to continue to provide school supplies to communities across the country for years to come!
A special thanks to Element Crossfit Group in Mississauga for fundraising and collecting school supplies shipped to Tusarvik School in Naujaat, Nunavut.
A HUGE thank you to Quinn and Nolan Foley and Nolan Muller, who ran a collection drive this fall in Oakville. All the supplies collected will support hockey in the remote Métis community of Beauval, Saskatchewan. They sent out eight pallets of equipment filled with assorted hockey supplies.
True North Aid is happy to support the Corrections Services Canada – Work 2 Give Initiative in partnership with Movember. This project recruits Indigenous offenders at Collins Bay and Beaver Creek Institutions to build structures for remote Indigenous communities. Indigenous men will garner the skills and knowledge within the carpentry trade and help give back to the community. This year, the men will build two changing rooms, two player’s benches, and two spectator bleachers for Taykwa Tagamou Nation.
In the past, men helped to build benches, houses, and shelters! We look forward to sharing more updates about the Work2Give program in the future.
On September 30th and October 1st, at Little Cataraqui Conservation Area, participants of the third annual reconciliation walk took time for reflection, remembering those who were lost and those affected by the tragic legacy of the residential schools. In Kingston, Ontario, these two days of the Reconciliation Walk took place to provide education and discussion to those willing to learn while walking the beautiful trails of Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area and reviewing info sheets on Canada’s tragic legacy of Residential Schools.
A 5 day Cultural Exchange Camp became a reality this summer for 23 youths from various communities in Northern Saskatchewan. Participating in various activities, youth connected with their Cree Culture through buffalo harvesting, camping, puppet shows, fishing, traditional medicine experiences, ceremony, and learning the history of their peoples. For some youths, it was “the first time feeling Indigenous.”
Thank you to all who made this wonderful project possible for youth.
Financial contributions made by our supporters funds incredible on-the-land cultural programs such as traditional moose hide tanning. This event was run in Fort McPherson, NT this past summer and educated families on traditional moosehide preparation. Promoting physical activity and spiritual well-being, the program also educated participants on traditional stories from the past, what the ancestors did and how they lived. Participants said they gained new experiences and friendships and that they hope to learn how to do this skill on their own. A few reflected on how strong their grandmothers were, what they went through and how they did it.
Another amazing initiative to keep language alive in schools in Saskatchewan is through our Reconcili-Action Program.
On September 14, 2022, Indigenous Language teachers and school administrators travelled to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to attend a 3-day Indigenous Language professional development in-service. The participants travelled from across the province’s northern half from most communities with a provincial school.
This event included teachers of Indigenous Language classrooms, school administrators, superintendents, an Elder and consultants from communities who spoke Michif, Cree and Dene. They indicated that they received valuable professional development to support their Indigenous language teaching, land-based education programming and promotion of local traditional knowledge.
True North Aid is so proud to be able to help fund the Nutana Making the Shift Project with the One House Many Nations Campaign in Big River, Saskatchewan.
“The OHMN Making the Shift project involves youth designing and building their own homes in a number of communities. In this photo, the wall frames are done and up for House 3 Big River First Nation, being built at Nutana High School in Saskatoon, as part of the One House Many Nations Making the Shift to End Youth Homelessness project. . The OHMN Making the Shift project involves youth designing and building their own homes in a number of communities. The OHMN team consists of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members who are builders, architects, students, researchers, youth, and others who volunteer their time, expertise and resources. The team takes action to identify and address the root causes and implications of colonialism, while validating and centring Indigenous knowledge first and foremost.”
“The camping was so much fun; learning to fiddle and jog was enjoyable. Playing prey vs predator was one of the best parts of the camp.”
This summer, True North Aid was happy to support the Mountain Metis Nation Association in Grand Cache, Alberta with their five-day summer camp. This camp provided 16 youths with the opportunity to advance their cultural and community well-being while promoting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
True North Aid was happy to support two hunting excursions this past summer and fall in Turnor Lake and Birch Narrows, Saskatchewan for youth and Elders, each lasting about 4 days.
From Rebecca Sylvester, coordinator with the camps:
“We had our youth out for many hours walking and calling in the moose. They walked islands and learned to sit quietly and wait. They had late nights and cold ones too… Everything is a learning experience for these youth from lunch to supper to packing to dressing themselves.
During the day our cooks and I cleaned, baked bannock and cooked a beautiful meal for all of the busy hunters. The elders sewed and told many stories and sat with us daily, teaching us about medicine and traditions. We also had a fishing net set, leading the youth on how to fix and smoke the fish. Then we joined in a feast and had a beautiful smoked whitefish that was cooked over the fire. “
Thank you so much to all who supported this initiative through our grants program. Learning on the land and gaining traditional knowledge helps youth to connect with their culture and keeps it alive.
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