By Alan S. Hale, Kenora Daily MIner and News
Treaty 3 First Nations, along with their counterparts in Anishinaabe Aski and Robinson Superior, are being called upon to state their support publicly for working with aboriginal youth to create a five-year plan to address several different issues facing First Nations communities.
The call to action is contained in the 2014 Feathers of Hope report which is an expansive document created after discussions at a three-day aboriginal youth forum organized by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children an Youth held in Thunder Bay.
The report, which was first revealed publicly on Monday, calls for a plan to deal with several issues identified by the youth who attended the conference as being important to the future of First Nation communities.
These issues include dealing with the lingering effects of residential schools, working to dispel myths about aboriginal people, addressing the epidemic of youth suicide, fighting corruption and increasing accountability in First Nations government, providing better mental health services, increasing access to sport, improving child welfare, reducing alcohol and drug abuse, and providing quality education.
The report goes into great detail on what the youth participants see as the problems and possible solutions to these problems, but they are making a direct call on their communities and their collective organizations such as the Treaty 3 Grand Council to agree to begin work on the five-year plan right away. In fact, the report calls for Treaty 3 to give its sign of support within 60 days.
Once they have Northern Ontario First Nations on board, the report says a formal body will be formed to bring together representatives from the communities, the youth and the federal and provincial governments to begin work on a plan which must contain specific, achievable goals.
Once the plan is created, the youth want five of their number to be hired to help oversee its implementation over the next five years.
No one at the Treaty 3 Grand council was available to comment on the report or its goal of a five-year plan to address issues which have plagued aboriginal communities for decades. But the call to action is receiving support from Northern Ontario regional chief Stan Beardy.
“This report with directives and recommendations directly from the youth is an important step in shaping our future, creating opportunities and addressing the suicide crisis that is plaguing our communities,” Chief Beardy said.
“I welcome the work the youth put into this report and now I urge the provincial and federal government of Canada to work with our First Nation leaders and our youth to help make this report a reality.”