SK First Nations Child Welfare Prevention Conference 2017

SK First Nations Child Welfare Prevention Conference 2017 – A Huge Success!!


The SK First Nations Child Welfare Prevention Working Group and the SFNFCI organized the SK First Nations Child Welfare Prevention Conference 2017 on November 1, 2017 at The Glen at Crossmount, a picturesque landscape and serene atmosphere of the Treaty 6 countryside - located 5 km South of Saskatoon on Hwy 219.




Over 75 registered delegates attended this one day gathering that included SK First Nation Child and Family Service (SFNCFS) Agency executive directors, managers, prevention supervisors, outreach/activity workers, counsellors and others who provide prevention programs and services to First Nations children, youth and families throughout Saskatchewan.

The event opened with the prayers and blessings from Maria and Walter Linklater, Elders, Cultural Advisors and Knowledge Keepers who have been foster parents to over 350 children in their lifetime.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

We were pleased to have hosted the Confederation Park School ‘Warriors’ Drum Group, who shared their traditional drum and songs as part of the opening ceremonies.



Dexter Kinequon, the chairperson of the SFNFCI Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Lac La Ronge Indian Child and Family Service Agency brought greetings and opening remarks that set the tone for the conference of “Working Together” to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our children, youth and families.   






Treena Wynes, Executive Director of Agency Chiefs Child & Family Services was the emcee for the event.  The conference program was complete with keynote speakers, Prevention Panel of Elders, cultural entertainment and workshop presentations.


The morning keynote speaker, Corey O’Soup currently serves as Saskatchewan’s Advocate for Children and Youth. He was appointed on August 3, 2016, and assumed the position on November 1, 2016. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Corey is a member of the Key First Nation and becomes the province’s first First Nations Advocate. Corey and his wife Jacinda have five kids and he has an extensive career working on behalf of children and youth in his roles as a teacher, senior policy analyst for the FSIN, provincial superintendent for the Ministry of Education, senior manager for the Alberta Ministry of Education, executive director for Education/Post-Secondary Education and Training for the FSIN and as the First Nations and Métis advisor at the Ministry of Education. In that role, Corey was appointed by the Premier to take the lead on the government’s response to the fatal shooting at a school in La Loche in January of 2016. As the Advocate for Children and Youth, Corey says his priorities will be finding ways to reduce the number of First Nations and Métis youth in care. He also has a passion for improving mental health services in Saskatchewan, and especially in the north where he has promised a special report on the issues surrounding youth suicides.


Corey O’Soup surprised delegate Leo Gamble with a gift, Secret Path by the late Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie Wenjack.  The graphic novel was written to accompany Gord Downie’s 10 song album.  http://secretpath.ca/#Book

Proceeds from the sale of Secret Path go to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at The University of Manitoba.

Prevention Panel Presentation

Moderated by Lisa Sasakamoose, Prevention Worker with Ahtahkakoop Child & Family Services, Elders Maria and Walter Linklater and Elders Patrick and Caroline Young share their stories of their life and work experiences in First Nations Child Welfare.

They say “if you feed them they will come!”  A gathering such as this is not complete without a full buffet of snacks and a spectacular luncheon served up by Splash Café Catering Services who provides all the catering needs for The Glen at Crossmount. 

We highly recommend them!!



Nutrition and lunch breaks were opportunities for delegates to visit the information displays and to network with their peers and colleagues and to visit  with the Elders and special guests!                                                       


Raissa Graumans, SFNFCI Staff

Selling one of Harold Johnson’s publications

Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People and (and Yours)





                                                                                                              St. Mary’s Oskayak Dance Troupe shared the beauty of their traditional regalia and dances during the lunch break!

Celebrating the cultural and artistic achievements of our youth!!

The afternoon was fully scheduled with workshop breakout sessions that were presented by First Nations Agency Representatives.  This was an opportunity for SK FNCFS Agencies to showcase their prevention programs and their best practices!  Delegates received takeaway handouts of each session as a resource for them to consider in their future prevention program planning!



Land Based Family Therapeutic Healing Program

Jarett Nelson & Joyce R. Night  Montreal Lake CFS  Moderator:  Neil Sioux

  Evolution of Prevention

Diane Pooyak & Delores Beaudry  Kanaweyimik CFS                                          Moderator:  Lisa Sasakamoose



Community Cadet Corps Program

Barry Morin, Agency Chiefs CFS

Cpl. Karen Pelletier, RCMP

Moderator:  Diane Pooyak


Reconciling Child & Family Services Protection through Prevention

Leah Mitsuing-Crookedneck

Meadow Lake Tribal Council CFS



The Practice of Reality Therapy & Choice Theory that Leads to Change

Vivian Pritchett, Meadow Lake Tribal Council CFS

Moderator:  Shelley Thomas Prokop


The afternoon keynote speaker was Harold R. Johnson who was born and raised in Northern Saskatchewan.  He served in the Canadian Navy, and worked in mining and logging. He has a Master of Law degree from Harvard University and crown prosecutor who works in Northern Saskatchewan in Treaty 6 territory. He's also a fiction writer, a trapper and a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation. His book Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours) is a passionate call to action, and a lament for the lives he's seen destroyed by alcohol. He estimates alcohol abuse is the cause of half of the deaths in his community. Harold describes Firewater, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction, as "a conversation between myself and my relatives, the Woodland Cree."





Treena Wynes provided the closing remarks and thanked everyone who made the conference a huge success!!  


The Confederation Park ‘Warriors’ sang an honour song

to close the conference.




Maria and Walter Linklater said a closing prayer and wished everyone a safe journey home.

We would like to thank the Prevention Working Group and all those who provided their support and expertise to make this gathering a huge success!!  See you in 2018!



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