Pubdate: Tue, 25 Nov 2008
Source: Slave River Journal (CN NT)
Copyright: 2008 The Slave River Journal
Author: Shawn Bell
Bookmark: (Youth)


Students in Lutsel K'e joined together last week, marching through
the community to demonstrate concern over the negative effects of
alcohol and drugs on their lives.

The march is an annual event in a community with vivid memories of
past horrors of alcohol abuse. Lutsel K'e's annual addictions
awareness week walk took place Nov. 19. Over 60 people, including
students, elders and community members marched from the school
through town to a fire feeding ceremony and feast.

"There has been tremendous progress in Lutsel K'e moving away from
alcohol and drug abuse," said Lutsel K'e school Principal Sheila
Cavanagh. "Unfortunately,  despite being a dry community, there is
still a large negative impact of addictions on students in school." 
Students spent two days before the walk learning and talking about
the effects of drugs and alcohol on their lives and community. They
created posters that now hang around Lutsel K'e.

"This is an opportunity for students to express their feelings to
their parents and to the community," Cavanagh said. "We get some
intense posters out of it."

Part of the in-class learning focused on the vocabulary of drug and
alcohol addictions. Cavanagh explained this approach ties in with the
school's authentic literacy program.

"Students are learning about the negative effects of alcohol and
drugs on families and community," she said. "So we want them to be
able to express their feelings in an authentic way."

A fire feeding ceremony concluded the march. Adeline Jonasson, who
works for Social Services, gave a speech in remembrance of all the
community members and loved ones that have been lost to alcohol and

"It is important to educate about alcohol and drugs, especially with
kids so they know the effects of alcohol," Jonasson said. "It's also
important to educate people in the community that alcohol has really 
devastating effects on people's lives if it gets out of control. It
is something we struggle with in the community, something we are
trying to address. It's an ongoing concern."

An emphasis of Jonasson's speech was the stiffer penalties for
bootleggers now in place following the territorial government's new
liquor act, effective Nov. 1. Even though Lutsel K'e has been dry
since a former chief, Joe Lockhart, implemented prohibition in 1978, 
bootleggers and drug dealers continue to operate to the detriment of
the community.

"The effects of bootlegging and drug dealing are causing problems not
just to the people you sell to," Jonasson said. "It is children in
the home that see the abuse, it is the children who don't have food
on the  table. So bootlegging affects all of our lives."
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