Lake Babine Nation (LBN) Chief Wilf Adam says the nation is taking a proactive approach to reduce crime and promote healing amongst their youth.
The nation has recently received over $100,000 from the provincial government to invest in two ongoing local projects.
The first project, which received $75,000, is a crime reduction and prevention program within LBN communities called ‘Wrapped in the arms of their culture.’
The program takes a cultural-based and community approach to help high-risk Aboriginal youth make positive changes in their lives, reducing the risk of youth criminalization. In this one-on-one case management program, youth are offered counselling and mentoring. This program involves the RCMP, LBN employees, elders and other community members.
The second program, which received $30,000, is a youth group called ‘Skak beyegh youth centre’ (House of the children) in Fort Babine, one of LBN’s communities.
The project provides an open-forum dialogue for youth that focuses on trauma recovery and healing, connecting youth with one another to develop healthy relationships.
The program deals with a large range of issues, including drug and alcohol related traumas, as well as isolation and inter-generational traumas. The forums are being facilitated by existing LBN employees.
According Chief Adam, both of these programs are aligned with the nation’s ultimate goal of taking a proactive approach to promote well-being.
“We really want to focus on crime prevention and dealing with young people before they get into trouble with the law,” explained Chief Adam. “Getting youth on the right route is important because they have a long future ahead of them.”
“It’s important that we guide them so they can function as a positive member of the society,” he continued. “So they can stand up on their own.”
Chief Adam added that he plans to implement similar projects in all LBN communities.
“We’ll be seeing more of these kinds of programs down the road,” he said. “It’s part of our foundation agreement that we are negotiating with province and federal government.”
The province has been collaborating with LBN on a new approach to reconciliation that is expected to be implemented over a 25-year span. The nation has also been in talks with the federal government.
The recent grants provided to Lake Babine Nation are part of the province’s civil forfeiture and criminal forfeiture grants. The nearly $6.5 million grants will support more than 170 local projects that help women escaping violence, indigenous families healing from inter-generational trauma, and youth needing mentorship to resist gang involvement.