Aboriginal youth have taken the reigns on the region’s first anti-substance abuse campaign in First Nation communities across Atlantic Canada.

The Red Road Project, an initiative of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) in cooperation with Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk, aims to educate First Nations youth about the dangers of using illegal substances, and raise awareness of its damaging effects to family, friends and the community. The project’s content and direction is created and driven entirely by First Nation youth, and is the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada.

On March 7-9, MK hosted the organization’s annual Community Strategic/Operational Planning Symposium at the Ramada Park Place in Dartmouth. This annual conference develops MK’s strategic plan, highlights member community operations, facilitates workshops focusing on emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual elements, and hosts a session of reflection and sharing of ideas between communities. This year’s theme was Holistic Approaches to Healthy Communities through Education, and saw approximately 80 First Nation education representatives come together to form an educational agenda for the upcoming year.

New to this year’s symposium was the integration of the youth voice. Approximately 20 youth representatives from each member community attended a special youth component composed of round tables, brainstorming sessions, cultural activities, and workshops. The youth a ...

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