DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

DAREarts Foundation Inc. for Children

November 04, 2011 13:03 ET

darearts First Roots Program to Culminate in a Showcase of Traditional Native Fashion

Helping Webequie heal through the energy and creativity of Youth

WEBEQUIE, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 4, 2011) - This Saturday, November 5 at 3:00 pm at Simon Jacob Memorial Education Centre, twenty-six Webequie youth have chosen to showcase their creations from the darearts First Roots Program in a community fashion show, followed by a celebratory traditional feast. In sharing their energy and talents, the youth hope to bring joy and optimism back into the community following the tragic loss of Jordan Wabasse less than a year ago.

Each fall for the past five years, darearts has been invited to Webequie to work with youth on a skill-based program that is grounded in Aboriginal culture and builds confidence through film, photography, music, visual art and storytelling. This year's focus on fashion evolved from the youth's desire to translate their creative images to fabric. The month of October has been devoted to this project, with many in the community, including school teachers, traditional teachers, artists, and Band Council members, joining darearts artists-as-teachers to inspire and motivate the youth. Seven Continents, a leading Toronto retailer of fashion materials, has generously donated countless metres of beautiful fabrics to help bring the youth's designs to life.

The young designers are proud of the vests that they have created, sewn and adorned with traditional designs, and they look forward to showcasing them at this Saturday's event. School attendance has been up a remarkable 25%, with many of the youth even returning to the school in the evening to work on their projects.

Working with Glenn Marais last week, the youth also wrote the lyrics to a song and put down some riffs to sing it along to. The finished song Spirit of the North is a collaborative accomplishment that the youth are also proud to share with the community on Saturday.

The darearts aboriginal program promotes healing among First Nations young people, inspiring them to discover their strengths through creative channels. Its transformative impact has led a Webequie Elder to name the program Nee-tum-Ochee-bek, or First Roots. By empowering youth in remote First Nations communities we hope to nurture those roots and grow a stronger, healthier future for Canada.

The First Roots program is funded in part by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Noront Resources Ltd. The geographical scope of darearts extends nationally, with programs initiated in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta and Vancouver. More funding is needed to reach more communities.

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