Evening of hope brings wisdom, optimism
- Linda Mikolayenko | January 16, 2017
Wisdom comes to us in different ways, says Brooke Graham, and stories have power.
Graham is the Family Support Program Coordinator at the Kikinahk Friendship Centre in La Ronge and organizer and emcee for “An Evening of Hope” held on December 17, 2016. The idea for the event was the result of a conversation with the province’s Children’s Advocate, said Graham. After a number of young girls in northern Saskatchewan had taken their own lives, Corey O’Soup had traveled to La Ronge to meet with various groups and individuals as part of his office’s investigation.
The evening, which began with a prayer by Flora Roberts, provided an opportunity for the community to gather for a meal, listen to the wisdom in the sharing of four women of different generations, and join in a round dance accompanied by the New Dawn Drum Group.
“I’m really happy with the people that came,” said Graham. “The tri-community (Lac La Ronge Indian Band, La Ronge and Air Ronge) was really represented,” she added, noting that it was important to her that youth were represented in the program.
Cameron Halkett is a 10-year-old member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Having lost a friend to suicide, she expressed her thoughts and feelings in poetry. The grade 5 Pre-Cam Community School student shared two poems that evening (see end of the story).
Margaret Bird is a recent graduate of Churchill Community High School in La Ronge who also spoke. She and her sisters form the New Dawn Drum Group which performed three songs.
“Strength is in each and every one of us,” said Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson who shared the importance of seeking help in her life. “I encourage you to reach out,” she said.
The message presented by author and activist Maria Campbell focused on children being the centre of the community.
“One of the things the Elders taught me was that everything that happens in our communities is inherited by our children. Everything we do is going to be inherited by our kids for seven generations. If we think like that, our decisions would be really different,” said Campbell.
Campbell observed that there are many artists in our communities, from those who do beading and make baskets, to those who sing songs and tell stories.
“That’s our medicine in our community, and a resource that we haven’t really tapped into,” said Campbell, as she encouraged the bringing together of artists and young people.
She also emphasized the importance of the land in healing.
“There’s many different ways to talk to Creator, but there is only one land – there’s only one land, and we ask that land to give us strength.”
We Matter by Cameron Halkett
With all the sadness and sorrow,
I can’t imagine why they do it.
To feel so bad and have pain locked up inside you,
that you feel you need to end your life.
Reach Out for Help.
There is someone that understands.
There is Help out there.
Don’t spend your life hurting in pain.
Everyone’s life is important.