Message from Jason Batise, Executive Director, Wabun Tribal Council

Jason Batise, Executive Director, Wabun Tribal Council

I am very proud of all the good work our Wabun Health staff has been doing over the years in producing programs for all of our members and in particular our Wabun youth. Meegwetch also to our Wabun Chiefs and Elders for the vision to follow up on the wishes of past Chief and Elder Thomas Saunders of Brunswick House First Nation through a request from our Health Director Jean Lemieux. Elder Saunders wanted to a gathering for our youth. Of course our very successful Annual Wabun Youth Gatherings owes thanks mostly to our youth from our Wabun First Nations who have participated in these events year after year.

I know that our two key organizers for the Wabun Youth Gathering, Wabun Health Director Jean Lemieux and Faye Naveau, Wabun Health Regional Crisis Coordinator, have had great satisfaction in seeing so many positive developments over the years. These young people have been coming back to learn more about our First Nation traditions and culture, to connect with our Elders and to receive education on many different life skills from renowned facilitators. It is also a time where they can enjoy fun games, be creative and mingle with Wabun youth from other communities.

The Wabun Youth Gathering provides the opportunity for our young people to acquire first hand knowledge through the various programs available and a chance to expand their horizons while developing friendships with other Wabun youth. We realize that all of the work we do in this area will assist in developing future leaders for our First Nations. We are seeing results now with many of our youth having completed their education and who are now employed in all types of positions in Native and Non Native organizations and the private sector. Some are returning to assist with the Wabun Youth Gathering as chaperones.

We are living in a time when our young people are losing their culture and slipping away from the language, traditions and spirituality of our people. Our Wabun Youth Gathering is an important means to assist our youth to reconnect with the culture or in some cases to connect for the first time with the knowledge of our Elders. Our Elders play a strong role in the support, encouragement and participation at these gatherings and all of us owe our gratitude to them for their participation over the years.

The Wabun Youth Gathering is well respected right across the province for continuing to provide care and support for our young people. We hope to develop the Wabun Youth Gathering well into the future.