Hope is being able to see there is light despite all the darkness – Desmond Tutu
The Toronto Star reported in early 2018, "Two more [Indigenous] young people died by suicide in Northern Ontario." Each loss adds to the disturbingly high suicide rates among Indigenous youth. Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation has invited Burning Stone Ministries to develop a Brave Youth, Junior Brave Girls and Brave Women monthly mentoring program, in conjunction with the Choose Life initiative developed under Jordan's principle*. This program is called Inzoongide'e (I am Brave), and involves workshops dealing with self identity and esteem, stress, anxiety and resiliency, healthy relationships, self-care, and leadership skill building. Cultural practices and land-based activities (such as ice fishing, canoeing, and trapping) is taught year round. Indigenous elders teach bannock baking, beading, learning to make moccasins, and story telling.
Our ‘BRAVE’ programs are based on the books and curriculum written by Ellen Duffield. (Check out these books below)
BRAVE YOUTH is a 3-5 day program run each month for young women and men high school age.
JUNIOR BRAVE GIRLS is run in the school one day a month for all girls in grades 5-8.
BRAVE WOMEN is a program for all the women in Mish to learn what it means and how to be a Brave leader in their families, their community and this world.
Colonialism and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools continues to negatively impact the Indigenous youth we work with. We provide resources such as the Mino-Bimaazdiwin (the Good Life) workshops in the community.
We are also partnering with Whispered Dreams Ranch just west of Thunder Bay. Opportunities for healing and life skill development are provided through 'Youth-in-Crisis' program and the Equine Assisted Counselling Program. These programs help youth by:
• Challenging them in a non-threatening manner
• Rapidly breaking down defensive barriers
• Providing immediate cause and effect situations
• Supporting change from dysfunctional patterns to healthy ones
It is a great program is designed to teach life skills, promote inner healing and self esteem to youth utilizing horses and the outdoors as teaching and therapy tools.
URGENT - WE NEED TO INCREASE THE ACCOMMODATION AT THE RANCH DUE TO THE INCREASE DEMAND FOR THESE PROGRAMS!
According to McLean's, in a typical eight-week period, 1,425 Indigenous kids dropped out of school, a rate three times the national average. In his book, The New Buffalo: The Struggle for Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education in Canada, Blair Stonechild, a survivor of an Indian Residential School, argues that education is the means by which First Nations, will rebuild healthy families, reclaim the cultural and linguistic vibrancy of Aboriginal communities, and achieve self-government." So, Burning Stone works with families, agencies, and schools to assist Indigenous youth to finish High School and Post-Secondary school.
URGENT!! Due to Covid-19, the agency Burning Stone has worked with to assist Mish youth get out to school, is currently shut-down. Many of the young people in Mish are missing a second year as they find online learning very difficult. Burning Stone is looking for student sponsorship so that these deserving young people can still attend high school. If you would like to sponsor a student, donate directly to Burning Stone and note that your donation is for student sponsorship.
Chiefs, council and parents in remote First Nations communities have seen the value of camping experiences on their youth, and the impact that these potential leaders are having in their communities. Burning Stone has been asked to "hold tighter and go deeper" with these youth through an extensive leadership program. Through strategic partnerships with prominent Ontario camps, Burning Stone is providing leadership development and opportunities for Indigenous youth with these goals:
1. Improve a sense of significance by belonging to a strong community of leaders and world changers.
2. Increase leadership mastery with opportunities to use learned skills.
3. Work on the expression of interdependence through personal goal setting and evaluation.
4. Develop the value of generosity with occasions to share their story and to be a bridge between cultures.
The Kairos Blanket Exercise was developed in partnership with Indigenous Elders and teachers. It is an exceptional history lesson that covers more than 500 years in an experiential workshop with Kairos trained 'facilitators' that aims to bring a deeper understanding of Canada's shared history with Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
"During the KBE, participants walk on blankets representing the land and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcome as they literally ‘walk’ through situations that include pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. Participants are guided through the experience by trained facilitators (who read the script and assume the roles of European explorers and settlers) and indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers. The Exercise concludes with a debriefing, conducted as a `talking circle,’ during which participants discuss the learning experience, process their feelings, ask questions, share insights, and deepen their understanding." (https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/about/
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise was recently endorsed as a “Successful Practice and Resource” by Indspire, a national Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.*
Burning Stone's Program Director, Karen Ward, has been trained and is a Kairos Blanket Exercise facilitator. She has led many people through this exercise in schools, hospitals, churches, and business organizations.
If you would like to experience and learn through the Blanket Exercise, please contact Karen to discuss the opportunity.