By Kelly Anne Smith
NORTH BAY – The Urban Aboriginal Strategy is many people coming together to be a strong voice for Aboriginal Peoples in North Bay.
Dawn Lamothe knows the details of North Bay’s Urban Aboriginal Strategy. Lamothe was a research associate working closely with Paige Restoule and Patty Chabbert at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre.
The team developed the strategy, released with a visually eloquent report compiled with input and with stories told by community members, called Walking the Red Road: Our community’s journey to help each person live a good life.
The successful development of the Community Action Circles (CAC) drives strategic direction with members collaborating on socio-economic issues.
Lamothe worked hard on running the CACs and has now been appointed the coordinator of the smallest yet arguably the most effective Urban Aboriginal Strategy Site. “I know our strategic plan model has so much potential to accomplish so many exciting things in the community in partnership and bringing people into the Indian Friendship Centre.”
Lamothe is active in applying for funding opportunities to offer culturally safe services. “I find it rewarding to say that The Urban Aboriginal Strategy was able to reinvest $51,000 into the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre this year.”
Currently, she is immersed in The Dream Series centered on helping aboriginal youth be successful.
7.9 % of North Bay’s population is made up of Aboriginal Peoples, much higher than the Ontario average of 2.2%.
Lamothe says with the fastest growing group being youth aged 14 to 19, the time is right for action. “It seems like it is a perfect time in the community. Everybody is doing something for youth who are unemployed, recent students or graduates. Or they are in school and looking to inspire youth. They are the fastest growing population. People are really starting to realize that.
“Recently the Métis Nation hosted a youth consultation. It is similar to our Dream series. We haven’t had a relationship with the Métis Nation, but now we are assisting them. “
Lamothe explains that during the research phase with the CAC Labour Working Group series of events, strong connections were made in the community with the Métis nation, Canadore College and Nipissing University.
The I.Business Conference at the end of next week wraps up The Dream Series. It is designed to inspire youth to enter the business world. Participating youth from senior secondary grades will be encouraged to ask themselves, “If I did this, what would happen?”
Lamothe explains the youth have already been matched with mentors. “There is one mentor for five mentees. They are given challenges and advice, keeping connected through social media.” Lamothe will continue to strive for culturally-safe opportunities for the community at Canada’s newest Urban Aboriginal Strategy in North Bay.