by Laurianne Stevens - First Nation School Success Program, MK

It was a beautiful sunny day on July 9th, as youth representatives from Membertou to the Annapolis Valley were waiting patiently for a drive to Stone Bear Tracks and Trails in Bear River First Nation. This location was chosen to begin the summer employment for the RED ROAD PROJECT, a drug/substance awareness campaign for First Nations youth in the Atlantic Region. The project was launched in March 2012 during Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey’s Annual Strategic Planning Symposium.

With little expectations, the youth and chaperones arrived safely to be greeted by Chief Frank Meuse, owner and operator of Stone Bear. The Youth Leadership Retreat then began with an opening ceremony and sharing circle at the Bear’s Den, one of wigwams along the trail.

Throughout the week, the youth enjoyed the company of some of our own leaders in Mi’kma’ki. Elder Agnes Potter joined the group on the first day communicating her strong words of wisdom. It’s amazing how many teachings and messages are brought forward when you provide a comfortable setting for an Elder to speak. The youth watched intensely as she offered medicines to the fire to pray for those in need.

Later that day, Kji Keptin (Grand Captain), Andrew Denny from the Mi’kmaw Grand Council joined the group. As Andrew spoke, the youth were very attentive, expressing interest in his gentle and sincere words. The youth were very fortunate to have Andrew’s involvement in the Leadership Retreat. He acknowledge ...

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