Wednesday 3:14 pm
Today it is a balmy 0 c and most people are complaining about the warm. “It needs to be colder”, is what most people say. Last night Kelvin Moonias went out on a ski-doo to where the winter road isn’t frozen and picked up some people (two of whom I would like to see today).
I met with Kelvin this morning who serves as a youth director for the band. His focus is on kids 11+, mostly with the boys. When asked about what we should focus our program on he immediately said, “Self Esteem”. Kelvin gave both Brian and I lots of great ideas for programs. He also brought up the idea that we should involve the younger guys in supporting programs and running activities. After our summer program last summer Brian says he saw the community running a program that looked very much like our Day Camp but the one thing missing is no one knew how to run any games.
In the afternoon Brian and I went to the school and dropped off a cheque to Tony Sakanee at the school. He was very appreciative and was quite pleased with the way the camp had gone. He is the one member of the community that the team had the most interaction with.
Wednesday 9:45 pm
The youth feast tonight was a great success! We had more than 80 people at the community center tonight and it was tremendous. Four women from the community took the ball and ran with it, coordinating a pot luck and ensuring the hall was decorated and that everyone was invited. It was the first youth event like this ever in Neskantaga and to have First Nations people planning and organizing it was absolutely invaluable. Brian and Bonnie gave the gifts out last year from the Health Centre during a kind of open house and this had so much more of an impact. The organizers this year were shocked that so many parents were there. Many had chosen to make it a big family outing and we had to set up two extra tables after Santa had arrived.
Lamar (and every other kid in town) loves Spagghetti.
Karoline (Baby K) and Santa.
Kayla, Kaylene, and Sunshine at the youth feast.
Charmaine, Torina, and Nancy wait for Santa to arrive.
After she had received her present, Torina (Micaela’s friend) waited next to Santa to make sure her two brothers weren’t missed. They are in Tikanagan Care (a northern version of FACS) and have been placed with another family off this reserve. These little ones will be visiting her and her little sister Nancy over the holidays. She made sure to get the gifts and take them home with her. It was cute and sad at the same time. She is 8 years old and is trying to be a Mom for her siblings.
Santa and Bearkwon (Little Bear)
I sat down at one of the tables, expecting to sit by myself when 7 year old Charmaine Yellowhead sat beside me (nearly in my lap) and asked me, “Who are you? Why are you here?” She was nearly my shadow for the rest of the evening and before leaving I heard her say, “This is good. Now I have a friend named Noel.”
Brennan Sakanee played Santa and the Christmas concert and was questioning Santa (Brian) after the gifts had been distributed and said, “You’re not the real Santa are you?”
“What do you think?”, Brian replied.
“I don’t know”, Brennan said with a pause and pointed at his stomach. “That’s a pillow right?”
I laughed till I cried.
Charmaine and her gift.
Landon (still covered in spagghetti ) shows me his truck.
Tamara (big Dora the Explorer fan) at the youth feast.
Nancy, Torina, Charmaine check out Charmaine’s gift. Nancy and Torina are saving their presents for Christmas.
Shania and Santa
Santa and Isaiah
Santa and Bearkwon.
Rhonda and Santa.
Corinna and Santa.
Hosea and his Aunt Cynthia.