July 30, 2007 (THUNDER BAY & DISTRICT) – Watch out! Bears may be coming to your community. MAKWA (or Making Aboriginal Kids Walk Away from tobacco abuse) will be on the prowl during Community Mobilization Days!
MAKWA have teamed up with Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek Lake Nipigon Ojibway First Nation, for this tour. "I didn't know that work could be so much fun!” stated an enthusiastic Kossy Green, MAKWA Peer Leader. “We play games, do crafts and talk to other youth about traditional tobacco and the tobacco industry... it's great!"
“I didn't know that tobacco was a sacred medicine until I heard a presentation by MAKWA at a Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek Annual General Meeting!” said Walter Nelson. “Now I am a Peer Leader, spreading the message to other youth! We go to training and have fun at community events. It is a great experience!"
The bears will be appearing in:
Geraldton: Monday, July 30th, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm, Geraldton Curling Club, 1st St. East
Nipigon: Tuesday, July 31st, 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm, Loftquist Lake Public Beach, Loftquist Lake Road (off Cameron Falls Road/Highway 584)
Thunder Bay: Wednesday, August 1st, 6:00 pm-9:00pm, Current River Park, 570 N. Cumberland
Beardmore: Thursday, August 2nd, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm, Poplar Lodge Park
“There have been studies that identify an increase in Aboriginal youth abusing tobacco,” noted Aileen Malcolm, Youth Advisor from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. “Our message is that tobacco is a sacred medicine that was never intended to be used for recreational or commercial purposes.”
MAKWA, a Youth Action Alliance, is operated and delivered through the Thunder Bay Health Unit's Tobacco Control Unit and is funded by Smoke Free Ontario. MAKWA is Bear in the Ojibway Language and is the protector of the clans. Incorporating the teachings of the seven grandfathers; LOVE, HONESTY, HUMILITY, TRUTH, BRAVERY, WISDOM, and RESPECT, MAKWA is able to provide options for Aboriginal youth to make a more informed decision on their lifestyle choices.
For more information,
Coordinator of Marketing and Communications
Thunder Bay District Health Unit