Hundreds of shoeboxes will be given to Indigenous youth in Saskatchewan this week as part of a national tour devoted to inspiring young First Nations people.
I Love First Peoples, a Quebec based charity is travelling to four different Saskatchewan communities this week to hand out shoeboxes filled with gifts to youth in remote or semi-remote Indigenous communities. The shoeboxes were filled by people across Canada.
Josee Lusignan, the organization’s president, says the tour aims to show these kids they are valued.
“We just want them to know a real person is thinking about them,” she said. “Opening the shoeboxes is a powerful connector and is tremendously meaningful that people across the country are thinking about them and encouraging them to succeed.”
Along with the shoebox presentation, the youth will get an opportunity to learn about their Indigenous culture. The stops in Saskatchewan will be joined by Dallas Arcand, a three-time world champion hoop dancer.
“People like Arcand present a lot of pride and excitement around learning about culture,” said Lusignan.
The tour was at the Bells Point Elementary School in the La Ronge area on Monday and will be making stops in the Montreal Lake, Ahtahkakoop and Yellow Quill First Nations in the coming days.
The tour did make a stop in Atahkakoop last year, but Lusignan says they are going back to celebrate the work of the communities Peace Leaders. I Love First Peoples brought a group of Ahtahkakoop students to Quebec last year to learn several anti-bullying strategies.
“The students of Ahtahkakoop are phenomenally embracing this program and bringing change to their schools,” said Lusignan.
The tour is planning to visit twenty Indigenous communities across Canada over the coming months.
(PHOTO – Courtesy ilovefirstpeoples.ca.)