First Nations Youth and Restorative Healing Project

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First Nations - young man at workThe First Nations Youth and Restorative Healing Project was a culturally-based community-based crime prevention strategy.

The project targeted youths, living on and off the reserve, who showed signs of exposure to addiction, family violence and abuse. The objective was to replace anti-social behaviour and criminal activity with conflict management based on resiliency, pride, self-esteem and respect for elders.

The project was coordinated by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN). Based on their high crime rates, the Cote First Nation and Battlefords communities were selected as sites to implement the project. Youth aged 15 to 20 were targeted in Cote and youth aged 12 to 18 in Battlefords.

Project assessment

Process evaluation was conducted on the experiences of the project planning and implementation. Site visits were carried out and interviews were conducted with key stakeholders in both the Cote First Nation and Battlefords communities. Stakeholders included the project coordinator, band councilor, First Nation's Probation Officer, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers, and the school guidance counselor.

Key findings

Lessons learned

The project generated a number of valuable lessons.

Toward the end of the project the Battlefords community launched a new coordination initiative with youth agencies titled 'Promoting Youth Success: A comprehensive strategy designed to promote a safer community by reducing youth crime.' This outcome indicated that the 'First Nations Youth and Restorative Project' was well received by the community.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that the evaluation encountered a few difficulties, it is clear that the 'First Nations Youth and Restorative Project' succeeded in producing positive experiences for the youth participants. In both the Cote First Nation and Battlefords communities, the general consensus was that children and youth benefited from a program based on their culture.

First Nations youth get involved and participate in cultural and spiritual activities and learn the traditional teachings with the help of Elders and through community programs based on restorative healing.

For more information or to receive a copy of the final evaluation report please contact the National Crime Prevention Centre at 1-800-830-3118.

You can also visit the web site of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

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