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Hands Across the Bridge attempting to shed light on poverty issues in Saskatoon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Friday, 21 October 2016 08:08

A photo from last year's event. Courtesy Twitter @Unifordeej

People in Saskatoon will attempt to form a human chain across the Broadway Bridge this weekend to raise awareness about poverty.

Hundreds are expected for the Hands Across the Bridge event, which has been taking place in the city for several years.

The event is put on by the Saskatoon Anti-Poverty Coalition and Passion for Action Against Homelessness.

Spokesperson Lila Wagner, who has lived experience of poverty, says the event is symbolic because poverty touches both sides of the city.

"That's why we do this, so we can reach both sides of the river because people seem to have this perception that poverty only happens in the core neighbourhoods and that is certainly not true," says Wagner. "I have lived on the east side, north side and downtown and I have seen poverty in all of those places."

"What I love about Hands Across the Bridge is everybody is welcome," says Karen Fraser-Gitlitz, another organizer. "It just shows that Saskatoon cares because there are people from all walks of life. It is a wonderful way for people to come together."

The group will meet at 2:00 pm on Saturday at Friendship Park, which is at the foot of the Broadway Bridge

The event coincides with Poverty Awareness Week in the city.

Social media blitz shows NORTEP and NORPAC success stories PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Laskowski   
Thursday, 20 October 2016 16:41

Some of the posts on NORTEP/NORPAC's Facebook page. Collage created by Chelsea Laskowski

Dozens of northern Saskatchewan residents are donning their NORTEP and NORPAC gear and dusting off their cap and gown photos, in a Facebook bid to show the programs have affected their lives.

The aim is to get the province to cancel its plan to redirect the La Ronge program's funding.

Some alumni who went onto study law and journalism after attending NORTEP/NORPAC are taking part in the social media campaign.

Teachers like Tracey Linklater, who is now at Little Red River School, say they started their careers through NORTEP programming.

Mike Durocher teaches a law class with the school right now, and wrote on NORTEP/NORPAC Facebook group “If this funding is cut, my job is probably toast.”

Alumni from Birch Narrows and Turnor Lake have pulled out their NORTEP sweaters and posted photos.

These are just some of the many success stories that are being shared online.

The topic got a federal mention on Thursday as the NDP's Georgina Jolibois stood in Parliament, mentioning protests held on Wednesday at the Legislative building, in La Ronge, and in Saskatoon.

“Liberals promised to invest $50 million in First Nations post-secondary education. Where is it? Will the Liberals ensure that programs like NORTEP/NORPAC receive funding that strengthens education services for northerners?” she asked.

Minister Carolyn Bennett says her government is committed to increasing Indigenous access to post-secondary education by increasing Canada student grants by 50 per cent this year.

She didn't speak specifically about NORTEP/NORPAC.

For many of the other stories, you can visit the NORTEP/NORPAC Facebook page.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2016 17:17
U of S students hold candlelight vigil in memory of young girls who took their own lives PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Thursday, 20 October 2016 15:09

Indigenous Students' Council President Dallas Fiddler helps light the candle of a fellow student. Photo by Joel Willick

Students at the University of Saskatchewan have shown their support and solidarity for the family and loved ones of the four young girls who have taken their lives in northern Saskatchewan.

Nearly 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil on campus Thursday afternoon in memory of the young girls.

In recent weeks, four girls have taken their own lives from La Ronge, Stanley Mission and Deschambault Lake. All of them were under the age of 14. Many more are considered at-risk.

Dallas Fiddler, President of the Indigenous Students' Council, says often students come to campus from northern Saskatchewan. Fiddler says he hopes the vigil will help them realize they can find support while here.

"We all have the same fear of leaving a community and not knowing what will happen when we return and that is why we wanted to plan this vigil," says Fiddler. "We just wanted to stand in solidarity with the northern regions of Saskatchewan."

Fiddler, from Waterhen Lake First Nation, says he hopes the vigil will help communicate to northern youth that they are loved.

"Our students really care about the issues these youth are facing," he says. "I would like to tell the communities to stay strong and reach out to us."

During the vigil, the students’ council listed off all of the supports available at the U of S and encouraged those in attendance to use them if needed.

For Amie Bell, a NORTEP student from La Ronge, she wanted to come and support all northerners.

"It's not just one community affected, it is many communities in the north that are affected," says Bell. "The more of us there are the stronger we are."

Many politicians and First Nation leaders have talked about the tragedy, calling for immediate action and support to be provided to the communities.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2016 15:09
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