Ministikwin First Nation walks against violence
- EFN Staff | October 10, 2017
Community members of Ministikwan First Nation organized a walk to stand up against violence and gang activity in their reserve. Organizer Darlene Paddy said the event was to bring members of the community together to speak up for their youth and that enough is enough.
“We started planning on how to get that message out to stand up to these drug dealers,” she said. “We want to encourage the young people to stand up for what they believe in.”
With the event, the organizers and participants wanted to promote actions by being proactive and spreading awareness on the issues that affect their community. Over 250 community members showed their support for the walk as RCMP escorted the walkers.
“We want to promote a safe place...we love our community and it’s our home. We want our community back,” she said. “We wore red t-shirts because [the gang] wears red. We wanted to get back that colour…every year we have the Heart of Change conference we wear red t-shirts with a heart on it.”
Paddy reached out to Rick Langlais who is the president and CEO of Hands On Outreach & Development Centre in Saskatoon. Langlais spoke at the event and shared his story of overcoming abuse, violence and addiction. It was a powerful message that had many youth engaged in the purpose of the event.
Jared Oseemeemow, 22, and his friends were in an incident involving a gang from their community last month where they were robbed at gunpoint. The assailants fled with their vehicle that had all their wallets and money inside. When they received the vehicle back, it was written off. Oseemeemow felt the need to participate in the walk after their experience.
“I felt strong and confident [at the walk],” he said. “After what happened to us, I feel like I want to stand up and do something about it.”
After the incident, Oseemeemow said he was afraid to go around his community but the walk event gave him that strength to stand up.
“We don’t want what happened to us to happen to anyone else,” he said. “I hope this walk opens people’s eyes. This needs to stop. I hope this awareness will help our community.”
After the walk, the organizers welcomed the participants back to the school for refreshments.