Men’s group started in honour of late brother
- Deanna Kaiswatum | July 02, 2018
An emotional conversation with her older brother Billy prior to his death inspired Angeline Anaquod to create a men’s support group.
“Billy never talked about anything throughout his life,” she said, adding that when he opened up, it took her by surprise.
Like many of his generation, her brother had his share of personal struggles.
“Despite my brother’s addictions, we always had a mutual understanding, respect, love for one another right up until the day he passed,” she said.
As a child, Billy attended Indian Residential School and as a young man served five years in the Saskatchewan penitentiary system in the 1970s. Billy was a multi-talented artist and played guitar for a local Saskatchewan band called Highway Express, so he experienced many years of a musician’s lifestyle.
It took her some time to make Billy’s vision a reality because she needed to ensure she had the tools needed to help others on their healing journey.
Once she felt ready she pitched her idea to Margeret Poitras, CEO, All Nations Hope Network, who loved the idea.
Last September Billy’s Place had their first men’s support group meeting. Greg Keepness is one of the men who joined the group. He saw a poster and decided to attend, a decision he doesn’t regret.
“I feel very comfortable,” he said.
Because the men are the ones who choose the topics, they make each meeting their own. Keepness said one of the topic that resonated with him was one on relationships. He said it has helped him build healthier relationships.
John Wapegan, one of the newest members, echoed sentiments about the group. Anaquod said the group is always open any man.
“All men, all ages, all religions, all nationalities, are welcome,” she said.
The group was excited to hold its first annual Father’s Day celebration where the men were honored and gifted with ribbon shirts.