First Na­tions to give wild meat to shel­ters

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION - BETTY ANN ADAM badam@post­media.com

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.

MICHELLE BERG

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.

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