Red Earth opens youth centre
- Tiffany Head | November 07, 2015
The community of Red Earth Cree Nation have been under the scrutiny of media attention in the past year.
The community has struggled to overcome tragic deaths caused by alcohol related incidents.
Red Earth band council had recently passed a bylaw that prohibits drugs and alcohol in the community in an effort to prevent more deaths and keep their youth safe.
To keep the youth busy and distracted, Richmond Head, whom was recently elected as the Youth Chief of the Red Earth Youth Council (REYC), presented a motion that the REYC had written up, to the Chief and Council and community members during a general assembly.
“They said they liked our idea and we had their full support, we knew what would happen with the drug and alcohol ban, we knew we needed a place to go, to distract ourselves,” said Youth Chief Head.
They were given a temporary youth centre for ten months in an old small laundry mat that holds a capacity of thirty youth until a new permanent place is done being renovated in the old elementary building.
“Were in the fundraising stage right now to get ready to move into the new youth centre as we would have to pay for our own power and internet bills once were in there,” said Youth Chief Head.
Even though the new youth centre will not be open until next summer, they will have their grand opening in the month of November as they had to postpone the event which was supposed to be held on October 28th.
The late Christian Head had been a former youth sector rep with the REYC and had valued working with his peers and had always encouraged them in their endeavors.
Sabrina Head (mother of late Christian Head) said her and her husband were pretty emotional and overwhelmed when they were asked if it was ok with them if the youth center was named, “Christian Head Memorial Youth Centre”.
“He enjoyed being a youth sector rep and helping youth see their futures instead of their past. I believe the youth centre will be a success as his name will be on there,” said Head.
Her and her husband Elias Head will be cutting the ribbon when the grand opening take place and her husband will also be hanging up the sign to the building that was custom made for the youth centre.
Even though the grand opening was postponed they celebrated the day which was scheduled to happen on late Christian Head’s birthday as a special commemorate.
“We will be having a candle light vigil and a balloon releasing at the place he passed on and then there will be a feast to follow for the whole community to celebrate, on what would have been his 20th birthday,” said Head.
The REYC will also working with the First Nations National Child Benefit Reinvestment Initiative (NCBR) program co-ordinator and elders in the community in making a schedule that will also include cultural initiative programs for the youth.
“The elders are concerned that the youth are losing their cultural identities and are out of control, which is why they want to work together and have us run the programs,” said Youth Chief Head.
For now they have scheduled programs, such as cooking, music and art classes, along with tutor nights and sports nights on the weekends. On Friday nights they will also be opening their youth centre until 2 in the morning and Saturdays will be used for fundraising events.
Related story: Red Earth declares itself a dry reserve