The Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal is proud to be hosting the Fourth Annual Aboriginal Wellness Gathering. It will be held in Montreal from March 25-27, the focus of which is “Moving Towards the Seventh Generation”.

This year’s Gathering Coordinator, Nakuset, says that they are trying to make the issues relevant to the women who use the shelter. The conference will deal with current issues stemming from residential schools and how the secondary effects are affecting people today.

The Seventh Fire Prophecy foresaw that the Seventh Generation, the seventh fire, would see a resurgence of pride in themselves and would begin to set things right. They would return to their culture as a basis for their lives and would walk the sacred path that was chosen for them by the Creator once again. Jan Longboat says that it goes beyond this, to thinking of the next seven generations and never having to live through the past horrors again. She is an elder and a keynote speaker who will be giving a workshop on the Seventh Generation Prophecy.

The main issues the conference will cover are: addictions to drugs and alcohol, youth protection and diabetes. Over 80 per cent of the clients at the shelter are in or have been in youth protection. Many are not aware of what their rights are. “Some women are told that they cannot bring anyone into the meetings with the youth protection agent, but they are allowed to bring one person of their choice,” says Nakuset.

A social worker/psychologist will be giving a workshop on what the clients can expect.

Waskaganish’s own Wellness Counsellor, Charles Esaw, will be giving three workshops on addictions. There will also be workshops on diabetes, AIDS, suicide, effects of residential schools and regaining confidence and self-esteem through education.

Three counsellors will be on hand for one-on-one sessions throughout the duration of the conference should emotions become too much to handle.

Presenters are still needed in the areas of Working with Youth, Mental Health, Gambling and Employee Stress Relief. Nakuset say they are trying to find dynamic speakers who can inspire and wow people, who can teach others. If you feel you have something to offer or would like further info about the gathering, please contact Nakuset at 514-933-4688.