Mary­mound, Land-Based Pro­gram Grows with Youth

Say Magazine - - CONTENTS -

“Grand­moth­ers and Grand­fa­thers tell us that our chil­dren are lost be­cause they have lost their con­nec­tion to the land and wa­ter. The ef­fects of this loss are multi-gen­er­a­tional in that it con­tin­ues to cause harm among our peo­ple to­day with the alien­ation from a land-based lifestyle,” says Zamora. “Healing for Indige­nous youth, chil­dren and fam­i­lies is con­nected to the land and our tra­di­tional lan­guages.”

The Indige­nous Land-Based Pro­gram’s goal is to pro­vide chil­dren and youth with the nec­es­sary skills, knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence in land, lan­guage and cul­ture to help re­tain and re­gen­er­ate land-based prac­tices. This means re­con­nect­ing youth to the land and wa­ters and restor­ing cru­cial relationships that were dis­con­nected.

The pro­gram also re­minds the amaz­ing, beau­ti­ful, kind and re­silient youth about where they come from, who they are, and what their gifts and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are within the com­mu­nity. This is achieved by role-mod­el­ing health, hap­pi­ness, generation, gen­eros­ity, com­pas­sion, re­spect and quiet­ness.

Youth at Mary­mound are re­con­nect­ing to the fun­da­men­tal relationships with each other, the Cul­tural Men­tors, the Cre­ator, the good life, Mother Earth, the medicines, Grand­mother Moon, wa­ter, Grand­moth­ers, Grand­fa­thers, the ea­gle, singing, the pipe, the Sun­dance and the sweat lodge. Th­ese relationships are vi­tal life lines that will have a pro­found in­flu­ence on the emo­tional, men­tal, spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal health of all youth at Mary­mound.

As part of the Land-Based pro­gram, one of the Mary­mound youth men­tors, Raven Hart, con­nects youth ev­ery day to the land as they go out into the bush to har­vest medicines and teas to sup­port vi­tal­ity, health and well­ness. “Youth learn that food is medicine and the Land-Based pro­gram is re­vi­tal­iz­ing tra­di­tional food sys­tems, in­clud­ing the grow­ing and har­vest­ing of corn, beans, squash and berries,” says Hart.

Wild meat and fish are also in­cluded in the many cer­e­monies, teach­ings and ac­tiv­i­ties that en­gage the youth. Medic­i­nal tea, ban­nock and other tra­di­tional foods are pre­pared over the fire on Mary­mound’s cul­tural grounds.

Mary­mound is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Indige­nous youth iden­tity and lan­guage. As the Land-Based pro­gram grows so does self-es­teem, spirit, kind­ness, com­pas­sion, gen­eros­ity and love.

“What we do here are ev­ery­day things. It is our goal as good rel­a­tives to re­mind youth that they are a spirit and are sup­ported and loved by their an­ces­tors, and that we are all a part of a big fam­ily be­cause this is what will change their lives,” says Elder Wanbdi Wakita.

Founded by the Sis­ters of the Good Shep­herd in 1911, Mary­mound has helped over 90,000 youth and fam­i­lies in Win­nipeg and Man­i­toba over­come trauma and bar­ri­ers that en­able them to in­te­grate suc­cess­fully back into the com­mu­nity. As so­ci­ety changes so has Mary­mound. Through growth and an evo­lu­tion of car­ing based on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s found­ing val­ues, Mary­mound is meet­ing the cul­tural needs and healing of Indige­nous chil­dren in its care.

Mary­mound, a lead­ing edge ser­vice provider, is blessed to have a vi­brant Indige­nous cul­tural pro­gram thanks to the cre­ation and de­vel­op­ment by Mary­mound’s Direc­tor of Hu­man Re­sources and Or­ga­ni­za­tional De­vel­op­ment, Stephanie Zamora. It is the cul­tural pro­gram that brings the gifts of re­claim­ing cul­ture to youth, fam­i­lies and staff through the land-based pro­gram­ming.

Mary­mound Cul­tural Team: (cen­tre) Stephanie Zamora, Direc­tor of HR and Or­ga­ni­za­tional De­vel­op­ment, and Indige­nous Youth Men­tors (L-R) Ter­ence Ross, Raven Hart, Ivana Yel­low­back and Da­man Moris­sette

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