In the spirit of reconciliation and a willingness to share knowledge about individuals, cultures and communities, Northern Loco organized a special exchange project for students from the Deh Gáh School in Fort Providence with students from Glebe High School in Ottawa.
This project is about connecting, listening, understanding, finding common ground and walking forward together. The youth have been communicating through letters, emails, video blogs, video chats and art work. The over-arching goal to demystify, define and give voice and action to reconciliation and understanding the challenges of decolonization. By bringing together indigenous and non-indigenous youth through digital communications and direct exchange visits, they will learn about reconciliation by living it and defining it themselves in the activities and the connections they make with one another. Reconciliation will not just be a concept that is discussed without context; it will be experienced through the challenges of shared emotions, understanding, empathy, and action.
In October, 2018, the youth participants came together in Ottawa for five days of workshops, tours and fun. Fourteen students from Deh Gáh School in Fort Providence joined fifteen students from Glebe High School in Ottawa.
They visited the nation’s Parliament and Victoria Island, a sacred site for Anishinaabe and many Indigenous peoples. Through a series of workshops they identified a common goal of creating a youth centre in Fort Providence, and presented their ideas to Senator Yvonne Boyer and MP Michael McLeod. In March 2019, Ottawa youth traveled to Fort Providence and went out on the land and then attended a Regional Youth Conference organized by Northern Loco.
In October 2019, Fort Providence youth traveled to Huntsville Ontario to spend a week with new friends at the Tawingo College Middle School and the Huntsville youth are planning to visit Fort Providence in February to go out on the land and attend Northern Loco’s Annual Youth Conference.
In November 2019, Fort Providence youth traveled to Ottawa Ontario to spend a week with new friends at St. Pius X High School and the Ottawa youth are planning to visit Fort Providence in February to go out on the land and attend Northern Loco’s Annual Youth Conference.
The Student Exchange project is made possible by funding from Experiences Canada.
CAMERON’S MOBILE MECHANIC SERVICE (CMMS)
With a mandate to support local business development, Northern Loco is working closely with Cameron Sapp, owner-operator of Cameron’s Mobile Mechanic Service (CMMS), to establish a permanent base of operations in Fort Providence.
CMMS has been in business since 2013 and has developed a solid reputation for high quality, honest work. Due to a lack of shop space in Fort Providence, Cameron had been working out of Hay River. But Fort Providence is his home community and he has long wanted to return. Northern Loco is making that possible by collaborating with the Snowshoe Inn to provide shop space inside Snowshoe’s industrial garage and to install new equipment that will ensure new and improved mechanical services currently not available anywhere in the Northwest Territories.
CMMS services include heavy equipment mechanical repair and maintenance, structural welding, picker truck service, highway truck recovery and hot shot service. In addition, CMMS will establish a Certified Commercial Vehicle Inspection station in Fort Providence. As well, CMMS will provide line boring services for equipment across the Northwest Territories and Northern Alberta. In the future, CMMS plans to acquire Furnace Servicing Certification and provide local furnace maintenance services.
Northern Loco is please to provide business growth support for this exciting local company. Support includes access to infrastructure and equipment, as well as financing, consulting, accounting and marketing services.
Northern Loco is committed to working with youth in Fort Providence for the purpose of developing new skills gained from meaningful volunteer civic and community engagement.
Northern Loco has partnered with various organizations, including Youth Ottawa, Deh Gáh Elementary and Secondary School, Hamlet of Fort Providence, Deh Gáh Gotie First Nation, Indspire, Dark Spark, Taking It Global and Ecology North. These partnerships serve to recruit youth, offer programming, provide resources and locations for activities, offer opportunities for engagement with local government officials, support youth-led community initiatives, consult on cultural adaptations and provide volunteer opportunities.
The program’s specific objectives are to:
- Leverage the participation of young participants from Fort Providence (aged 15-30) to affect positive social change on community issues they have identified;
- Bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to learn about reconciliation and decolonization and to identify and address a social issue in the community that fosters understanding and mutually respectful relationships;
- Develop new skills for all youth involved;
- Increase regional and national awareness of the issues facing communities and the role youth are playing in addressing them;
- Increase regional and national awareness of youth-led initiatives that are actively working to live out reconciliation and decolonization;
- Create a sustainability plan through the local school and recreational department in Fort Providence to continue youth civic engagement activities beyond the project end date;
- Create a sustainability plan through Ottawa area school board and NGOs to continue the reconciliation and decolonization youth-led work.
Northern Loco has received financial support for this program from Canada Services Corps (CSC), a division of Employment and Social Services Canada. To date, youth programming projects focused on positive social change include the following:
- Sober Weekend, October 2018 – Local youth identified substance abuse as a major problem in the community, resulting from the ongoing intergeneration trauma caused by the residential schooling system. In an attempt to offer community members healthier options for their weekends, the youth organized a series of fun filled events for the whole community.
- Winter 2018/2019 – Youth identified a lack of safe spaces and programming as a problem to be addressed. As a result they prepared a plan for converting unused community centre space into the Fort Providence Youth Centre which opened in April 2019.
- Spring 2019 – Youth identified litter and pollution as problem facing the community. They isolated single-use plastic bags as one of the key issues to be tackled. They secured funding through Taking it Global’s Rising Youth Program to produce reusable grocery bags with a logo they designed that have been distributed to all community members.
- Fall 2019 – Youth identified a lack of literacy amongst elementary school students as a problem. They are currently working with elementary school teachers to develop peer to peer after school programming/ homework club for elementary school children to help with literacy in both English and Dene Zhatie.
For projects that bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to learn about reconciliation and decolonization, see the Student Exchange programs above.
HAND GAMES AND CULTURAL PROGRAMMING
Northern Loco is proud to work with local, regional and government partners, now and into the future, to support traditional and cultural activities within the community and on the land. With contributions from the GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment and Hotıì ts’eeda, we are making it possible for community members to offer hand games practice 3 times per week.
We are also providing support for local youth and community members to travel and participate in hand games tournaments. Additionally, in conjunction with the Fort Providence Wellness Centre and the Zhati Koe Friendship Centre, Northern Loco is supporting local youth and community members in making hand drums with birch wood frames and caribou hides.
SUPPORTING THE RETURN OF
THE FORT PROVIDENCE FIRE DEPARTMENT
Northern Loco created and is continuing to help implement a plan to bring the processes, levels or reporting up to the required standards while recruiting sufficient numbers of members required for service and the training required.
ADDICTIONS & TRAUMA
RECOVERY WORKING GROUP
Northern Loco at the request of the Chief of the Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation, is facilitating a series of community discussions and planning sessions to provide avenues for community members to take action to address the issues of addiction and family violence in our community.
Through a series of community consultations and the development of youth programming, Northern Loco supported the youth of Fort Providence in their quest to create a youth centre in Fort Providence. Thanks to capital cost contributions from the Hamlet of Fort Providence and the Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation, the drop-in youth centre opened in April 2019 and has been operating seven days a week. With an average of 28 young people attending each day, the centre provides a safe space for all ages. Programming focuses on literacy, food preparation, art and culture, with a goal to expand activities into the future. Ongoing support for the youth centre’s operation is provided by GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment, GNWT MACA Youth Centres Initiative, NWT Literacy Council, Hotıì ts’eeda and Deh Gáh Got’îê First Nation.