On the Front Lines: SN7

The SN7 expects a  great deal from its participants, in a good way! The members of the SN7 are Sisika youth who provide leadership within their community and mentorship to other youth.  They are on the front line of their community and other Indigenous communities offering support and helping out in all kinds of situations from complex and challenging to easy and fun. 

During the 2016 Fort McMurray wild fire and evacuation, the SN7 youth supported  Indigenous Youth who were evacuated to the University of Calgary. As a result they came in contact with the Save the Children organization which has as one of its goals to  work with communities to build capacity to protect the most vulnerable during disasters – children. They help generate child-focused emergency plans, provide emergency training and resources in advance, helping keep children safe when disasters strike.

The Save the Children organization offered its disaster preparedness program to the SN7 group.   This training included appropriate responses to disasters such as fire, flooding, chemical spills, being trapped in a house fire or dealing with suicide.   The SN7 group then took parts of this training out into the schools and kindergartens, helping the younger children have the tools to manage in disasters. This training was unfortunately very relevant when grass fires burned through parts of Siksika First Nation in October 2017. 

The SN7 have also been very involved in Anti Bullying campaign, going into schools and helping the younger children to identify violent behavior and to have some options about how to be safe or to help keep others safe. Lateral violence is a recognized phenomenon in developing or minority communities where displaced violence is directed against one’s peers rather than adversaries.  Children may have experienced violence in their homes where adults are struggling with the repercussions of residential school experience.  

Not all of the activities of the SN7 are this demanding.  They also are involved in organizing sports events such as floor hockey tournaments, basketball camps, volley ball camps and fitness classes. The Sportsplex where much of SN7 programming takes place is now open until 9:00pm which means there is a place for youth to hang out and positive activities for them to enjoy.  

Finally they are also involved in a cultural club which gives youth the opportunity to participate in traditional activities like drumming, singing, storytelling, learning more about their history and listening to elders;  all a necessary foundation for the challenges they meet as emerging leaders within their community.