Aboriginal Next Steps: Hazelton



Youth Participant Quotes:
What did you learn at today's event?
"I learned about the past in Aboriginal peoples. I learned how to do claymation and learned about good choices"
"Learned a lot about Aboriginal history, how much we've changed"
"I learned lots about drug use"

What I will do with what I learned today:
"Make better choices"
"I will help in the community and hopefully change things"
"I will try to start up a youth program"

Hazelton participants

Nineteen Hazelton youth created their Community Action Plans and films on May 27, 2008. Hazelton Secondary School has a student population of 459, with approximately 75% First Nations. A geographically large community (including Hagwilget, Gitanmaax, Kispiox, Gitwangak, Gitanyow, Gitsegukla, New Hazelton, South Hazelton and Kispiox Valley), many of the students travel at least one hour on the bus every morning to attend school. This inspiring level of commitment to themselves and each other was reflected in their groups. Some knew each other well and some didn't. Regardless, they all stayed dedicated to their group-whether it was eating lunch together or working out creative differences. All three ambitious groups came up with a long list of fun and educational activities for the Hazelton community. They addressed three Action Plans 1) Physical & Emotional Health; 2) Sexual Health, and 3) Substance use & Abuse.

The Film Premiere & Community Dialogue was integrated in Hazelton Secondary's community showcase where students display pieces of their school work that they are proud of.

Group 1: Physical & Emotional Health

McCreary and other research identify protective factors that increase the likelihood of healthy development for youth. Current studies indicate that protective factors appear to reduce the likelihood that young people will engage in risky behaviours or experience negative life outcomes; even in the presence of risk factors, such as depression or substance use. The most potent protective factors for vulnerable teens include positive relationships in key settings:

  • Connectedness to their families and people at school
  • Having someone in their family they can talk to about problems
  • Having friends with healthy attitudes towards risky behaviours

Positive, supportive relationships are a key determinant of health among all age groups. Relationships with family and friends are particularly important for adolescents. In their film, this group encourages us to reach out to our love ones, because in life there is no 'rewind button.'

Group at the table brainstorming.

Research to Action Plan:

  • Our community goal is...

    To try to reduce suicide rates and drug use.

  • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be

    Drop-in centre in a central location.

  • Describe what you would do...
    Air Hockey Pool Paint ball arena
    Foosball Health Snacks Floor Hockey
    Ping Pong Music Bungee jumping
    TV Security Cameras Suicide Help Hotline
    X Box Mini Golf Horseback riding
  • In what ways would your project improve community health? (think about protective factors)

    Visit with friends, someone to talk to, get more socially active, something to do to help get way from drugs & alcohol and fighting.

  • Who/What would you need to get involved?

    Youth, teachers, people from high schools and other communities

"Choose Your Own Destiny"

  • Ksandra Collier
  • Carmen Witwer
  • Thomas Smith
  • Jospeh Bowden
  • Ricky Letendre
  • Karlee Wilson
  • Karlz4


Group 2: Sexual Health

Sexual activity among Aboriginal Students has declined significantly over the past decade (from 54% in 1992 to 36% in 2003). Fewer sexually active Aboriginal students had sex for the first time before the age of 14 (from 44% in 1992 to 29% in 2003). The percentage of sexually active Aboriginal students who practice safe sex has increased significantly in the past decade. In 2003, approximately 67% reported having used a condom the last time they had sex, compared to 54% in 1992. Having multiple sexual partners increases the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Among sexually active Aboriginal students, 41% had sex with one person in their lifetime and 18% had sex with two people. Group 2 show us how sexuality is just one more area where Aboriginal youth can continue to make healthy choices.

Research to Action Plan:

Group at the table brainstorming.
  •   Our community goal is...

      Safer sex

  •   Describe what you would do...
  •   In what ways would your poject improve community health? (think about protective factors)

      Less teen pregnancy, STIs, HIV

  •   Who/What would you need to get involved?

    Older people; if at a hall - G-Maax, small communities, health workers

  • Skits Theatre Workshops
    Videos Games Trivia
    Food Door prizes Youth Conference
    BBQs Car wash 50/50

    "First Timers"

    • Peter Jones
    • Jessica Williams
    • Dominique Melanson
    • Mary Mowatt
    • Lupe Villanueva

    Group 3: Substance Use & Abuse

    Fewer Aboriginal youth are drinking alcohol and the percentage of Aboriginal youth ever trying alcohol has declined. Also, overall drug use has declined and there has been a dramatic decrease in smoking amongst Aboriginal youth in BC. Group 3 wanted to see these positive changes more among the youth in Hazelton. They brainstormed an impressive list of activities to encourage healthy lifestyles among youth. In their film they promote a vision of an inclusive Cool Bean camp - where every bean is welcome. Cool Bean says, "You don't need drugs to be dope."

    Group at the table brainstorming.

    Research to Action Plan:

    • Our community goal is...

      Enourage Healthy lifestyles

    • If we had up to $5000, our activity/project would be

      Cool Bean Camp

    • Describe what you would do...
    • Swimming Capture the flag Education
      Skateboarding Man hunt Huge move night
      Snowboarding Minor gam Bonfires
      Paint ball Archery Sledding extreme
      Laser tag Rock climbing Large cabins
      Sports Youth Meetings

    "Cool Beans"

    • Wayne
    • Jake
    • James
    • Amanda
    • Ceejay
    • Conrad McRae
    • Kaitlyn