Over the last year, aboriginal communities in Canada have been in the headlines.
With the release of the truth and reconciliation report on residential schools. The launch of the inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, with Maclean's magazine saying that Winnipeg is Canada's most racist city, and more hopefully a record number of indigenous MP's elected to Parliament.
We've also seen headlines related to a heartbreaking number of suicides in Northern Communities often related to those very complex layers of issues dating right back to residential school days.
Crossroads Relief and Development is committed to doing what we can to bring healing. We've partnered with the Bill Prankard Association to launch the Arctic Hope project. On the front lines of this initiative is Steve Carleton.
This weekend they are about to launch the Arctic Hope Centre.
The Arctic Hope Project is a suicide prevention and Inuit youth leadership development initiative based in Nunavut. The Arctic Hope Centre is a building that will house the Arctic Hope project on the Western side of the Arctic on Hudson's Bay.
Currently they have been working in a community called Cape Dorset. It is their pilot community and they have been there now for 2 years out of a 5 year initiative. They are working with an army of young people who are statistically the most likely to commit suicide in the country due to their age demographic and that fact that they are Inuit living in isolated communities.
They are seeing incredible things happen. Young people who have actually tried to commit suicide multiple times, had been arrested by the RCMP officers because their attempts were so serious. They are now encountering the presence of God and beginning to hear the message of hope the project is giving. Many have graduated grades 9 and 10 and are no longer suicidal. Many just finished their first summer job. Lives are being changed in this community through the Arctic Hope project.
They believe they will see the same thing happen in Repulse Bay, which is now called Naujaat.
It is a complex issue and so many times people don't want to engage but the church has the answer. The love of God is the answer to heal the historic wounds.
They are raising up young people within the community who can be agents of healing themselves. Raising up leaders in the Inuit community.
This centre they are opening will be a training centre where people can come from all over the Arctic to get training to be agents of healing.
It is vitally important for young people to come and gather with other young people who are like minded. Many communities are very isolated. To have a place where the message of hope and the power of God can impact these young people is vitally important.
Steve believes they can stop these high suicide rates that are happening in the North. We cannot stand by and let that happen.
Steve said none of this would have been possible without Crossroads and its partners.
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