Thursday, July 24, 2014
Text Size

Garden Hill teens studying in Winnipeg lose mentor

Teacher Wayne McLeod taking up job in Cross Lake so he can continue supporting students

CBC News

A group of teenagers from a remote Manitoba First Nation that relocated to Winnipeg for better education opportunities is losing the mentor who has been providing for them in the city.

The six boys from Garden Hill, located about 475 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, came to the capital city this past fall to pursue studies at Tec-Voc High School.

The teens came to Winnipeg as part of a program called Mino Bimaadiziwin — meaning "the good life" in Ojibway — in which they live clean lifestyles, attend school regularly, volunteer in the community and stay physically active.

Wayne McLeod, a teacher who brought the program to Garden Hill, has been working with the teens and brought them to Winnipeg in September.

"They're actually doing well, they're adjusting really well. Some are struggling, but you know what? They're not giving up," McLeod said of the students.

However, McLeod could not find a job in Winnipeg, so he has taken up a teaching position in Cross Lake, Man., to get himself out of debt.

Mino Bimaadiziwin receives some funding but not enough, said McLeod, who funds the rest of the program with his own money.

'I don't have a choice'

"It's a commitment I made with them. And for me to leave, I don't think it's fair. But I have to," he said.

"That wasn't my intention of leaving them here — to get them here and just to leave them. But right now, I don't have a choice."

With their main caretaker now leaving, the boys say they're worried that they may lose the home that McLeod has leased for them.

"I really love the school, too, and I wanna stay here," said 17-year-old Brandon McPherson, who is in Grade 11.

McLeod said he has to take the job in Cross Lake to ensure his students in Winnipeg can stay there until the end of the school year.

Mino Bimaadiziwin program leader Jordan Bighorn will fill in for McLeod while he's away.

"It's kind of going to be a make-or-break scenario," he said.

"I mean, we're going to have to delve in all our skills [and] all of our resources ourselves, but we're pretty faithful that we'll make it through."

Bighorn said the teens all know McLeod will be just a phone call away, but that offers little comfort when they are already hundreds of kilometres away from their home community.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Write comment (10 Comments)

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

Write comment (7 Comments)

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


July 2014
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
Fri Jun 27 @12:00AM
Adäka Cultural Festival
Wed Jul 23 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
Asinabka Film Media Arts Festival
Sun Jul 27 @12:00AM
World Indigenous Business Forum 2014

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

Write comment (1 Comment)


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins

Write comment (0 Comments)