First Nations to give wild meat to shelters
As First Nations political and cultural leaders signed a promise to bring wild meat and tradition to homeless and women’s shelters across the province, a client at the Lighthouse Supported Living shelter looked on with approval.
“I’m proud we’re doing it ourselves. The church is not leading us by the hand, the government is not leading us by the hand,” said the client, identifying himself as Darrell.
First Nations hunters have always shared their harvest with those who need it and many have been supplying meat to shelters regularly since 2014, said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron.
Between 50 to 200 “hunting warriors” regularly respond to FSINtexted invitations to join expeditions to benefit shelters in Yorkton, Meadow Lake, Regina, Prince Albert and Saskatoon, he said. The animals are butchered by members of the Greenleaf Hutterite Colony.
Cameron pledged Tuesday to continue the practice, signing a memorandum of understanding with Lighthouse CEO Don Windels.
Wanda Wilson, president of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, also signed on, promising to bring culturally appropriate interventions to Lighthouse clients. Those might take the form of smudging, workshops at the facility or possibly day trips out on the land, gathering plants for traditional use or attending ceremony, she said.
Darrell, who prefers to use just his first name, says many who come to shelters are aware of their own failings and their own roles in family conflict, and that adds to their emotional burdens, he said.
“What we’re dealing with is shame. You start to doubt yourself. That plays on you. Culture helps the healing process,” he said.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, Wanda Wilson, president of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, and Don Windels, executive director of the Lighthouse sign a memorandum of understanding.