HONOURING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Summer, 2022

by Strini Reddy

Since the children and youth in our partner communities have had a very challenging 2 school
years, we decided to do as much as we can to enable the communities to provide as many fun
learning and recreational activities as possible over the summer. We consulted with the
communities to determine how best we could do this.

We initially tried to work in partnership with other like-minded organizations so that we could
increase our capacity and impact. In particular, we wanted to collaborate with MFNERC.
Unfortunately, after a promising beginning, our efforts at collaboration failed. However, we were
able to get Wpg Aboriginal Sports Achievement Centre (WASAC) to offer summer programs in
two of the communities, Lac Brochet and Shamattawa.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
In response to interest expressed by 2 communities I enlisted the help of one of my former
students, now an award-winning teacher and Science “expert”, to collaborate with St Theresa
Point and God’s River to offer a 4-week fun, hands-on STEAM experience. She acted as an
advisor to local staff and sent the necessary kits of equipment, etc.

SUMMER LITERACY PROGRAMS
We worked with our partners, Frontier College, to enable the offering of fun literacy
development activities in Red Sucker Lake, St Theresa Point and God’s River. Two instructors
have been hired for 5 weeks in each community and training is being provided. All necessary
materials and resources are being sent into the communities.

Manto Sipi (God’s River)
We were able to send life jackets, crocs and water shoes so that the children could enjoy the
water. We have already received some beautiful pictures and “thank you” notes.
We also sent board games and a variety of supplies for arts and crafts activities.
This community lost their dock last winter and requested help to have a new one built. We are
collaborating with a funding partner in Ontario to see if we can help make this happen.

St Theresa Point
The community had purchased boats for water and land-based activities but were in need of
life jackets which we have provided. We have also sent all books and supplies needed for the
Recreation and Reading Program. In addition we have sent board games, arts and crafts
supplies and soccer equipment.
This year, for the first time, we will be sponsoring 2 students from the community to attend our
Rotary Adventures in Human Rights.

Red Sucker Lake
The community had acquired canoes for their water and land-based programs but were in
need of life jackets and paddles which we have provided. We have also sent board games, and
are in the process of responding to a request for baseball and soccer equipment.

Tadoule Lake
This is the only community (population of approx. 400) located in the Seal River Watershed, an
indigenous protected area. The Chief expressed an interest in educating the youth in his
community about this pristine area. He would require canoes. We are in the process of
purchasing and shipping 2 canoes for this purpose.

Split Lake
We have worked in partnership with Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program to enable the
offering of their 6-week fun program of summer physical activity and literacy program.
We are also working with the community to support the development of a baseball league.
We will be helping to procure the necessary equipment, etc.

We have just connected with Rylee Nepinak, the young man who rode his bike across Canada
to raise funds to support the development of youth suicide prevention initiatives. We will be
working with him to see how we can support these initiatives.

Arts and Crafts
Rtn Harold Aukema is working with Art City to put together packages of Arts and Crafts
materials which will be shipped to 3 of our communities.
We also need to thank Harold and Jaydon Gan, co-president of U of M Rotaract Club, for their
invaluable assistance in doing the leg work to acquire the necessary supplies.
9,000 children's books headed to northern communities on ice roads
By Sylvia St Cyr
 
A few organizations have come together to give thousands of books to kids in remote northern communities in Manitoba. 
 
Strini Reddy is a former educator who is now helping children in northern communities get books. He is a member of the Honouring Indigenous People's (HIP) committee with the Rotary Club of Winnipeg. 
 
"Our committee and our club have been interested in working with the remote first nations communities up north in northern Manitoba to support education and other initiatives in whatever way we can. One of the most common requests we get is for books," says Reddy.
 
The communities that they send books to are only accessible by ice roads or planes. Shipping costs for books travelling by air is very expensive, so the best time to get books to these communities is by the ice roads in the winter. 
 
"We work with an organization here in Winnipeg called Share the Magic book program which is run by one very committed person, Christine Melnik, who used to be a member of provincial government before she retired. She's a librarian by trade. She's very meticulous to make sure every book is examined for condition and content."
 
Books are being distributed to children to take home, as well as to fill school libraries. This winter kids can take up to five books for themselves. 
 
"Having Share the Magic here in Winnipeg has been such a blessing to us. Otherwise, it'd be very difficult for us to be able to ship as many books as we possibly can."
Reddy's organization, Share the Magic, and The Northwest Company trucks work together to get these books to children in remote communities. 
"This time around books are on the way to Red Sucker Lake, Wasagaming, Lac Brochet, and God's River."
 
Why Books Are Important
"I'm a retired educator and have a lot of experience up in northern communities in Manitoba. I've seen the discrepancies in services and goods between communities in the southern part of the province and the isolated communities," says Reddy. "Books shouldn't be something that is out of people's reach."
 
HIP has partnered with Rotary clubs across Canada and encouraged them to become part of a reconciliation movement with Indigenous communities. 
 
"We were one of the first clubs to form an HIP committee. We have the advantage of the fact that I personally, and others, have been working with people up north for many years. Education is one of the biggest things. Books have become a central part of it."
Reddy understands the importance of books not only as a former educator but also from his childhood experience. 
 
"Today we talk about the internet and easy access to reading materials, but the fact remains many of the communities we are talking about don't even have the internet. I grew up in a family that had very limited resources so every time we had a book, it was a great treasure for us."
Reddy has seen the impact books can have on young minds as an educator, but also from reading every night to his children, and then grandchildren.
 
"There's a magic about having a book in your hands and being able to see the printed world and create this whole wonderful world of imagination."
The program has donated more than 640,000 books worth more than $4.2 million.
ext here

ROTARACT

The Rotaract program is designed for young people between
the ages of 18 - 30 yrs.
It brings young people together to share ideas and have fun through service. 
At the present time there is a Rotaract Club at the University of Manitoba. https://umrotaract.org/

Contact  s.rotaractclub@gmail.com./.

For Halloween, 
The Rotaract club of the University of Manitoba created a fundraiser called "Sugar Distancing" to support Oak Table. A nonprofit organization dedicated to the homeless communities in Winnipeg, offering participants programs, COVID support, healthcare and basic needs. The students made goodie bags which included candy, hot chocolate, cookies, handmade halloween themed face masks and earrings. The fundraiser made a total of $922.25 with the help of friends and family and kind rotarians, in which all of the proceeds will go to Oak table. We are thankful for everyone who was able to support us and hope they've found some joy in receiving the goodie bags."

Thank you Rotaractors !!

 

World Peace Partners
 
A key youth project organized by WPP is the annual Rotary Adventures in Human
Rights program (RAHR), held in collaboration with the Canadian Museum for Human
Rights (CMHR).
 
For more information see:
 

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