Child & Youth Diabetes StrategyProject Profile
Returning to Health – Culture Camp
Chemawawin Cree Nation
Focus: Community-driven, culture camp, holistic approach
Target Population: Youth, young families
Reach: Chemawawin Cree Nation is part of the Swampy Cree Tribal Council, comprised of seven First Nations communities situated in northwest central Manitoba
To develop, implement and evaluate programs at the Chemawawin Health Authority’s (CHA’s) culture camp where youth will be taught the traditional ways of their people. Through this process, the community intends to change the current trajectory of health issues, including diabetes, mental health and addictions, so that youth and the community will thrive.
Chemawawin Cree Nation believes that the best way to return to health is to develop a strong cultural identity, particularly for the youth in the community. The CHA has selected a location a short distance from the community on which to build a cultural camp that is cellphone-, alcohol- and drug-free. Youth will be taught about their culture and will have a place to which to retreat when they need a break from the pressures of everyday life.
Culture camp programming will address three health priorities identified by the community: diabetes, mental health and prenatal self-care. The project team will be led by staff from different disciplines within the CHA. Youth workers hired to coordinate camp programming will be responsible for maintaining the camp, creating a plan together with the community health team, organizing workshops and elder visits, and reporting on activities. They will be trained to recognize when an individual may need help and how to connect them to community health care providers. Other key partners in the initiative include: the school principal and staff, who facilitate access to students and discuss and promote community programs; the Northern Regional Health Authority and their Diabetes Education Resource team; and First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, which would provide ongoing support and help with sustainability. The project takes a holistic and family-centred approach, recognizing the links among cultural identity, self-esteem, mental health and the prevention and management of diabetes. The team anticipates that the opportunity to develop self-mastery will ultimately build self-esteem, self-care and positive health choices, resulting in lower rates of chronic disease and a healthier population for the generations to come.