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As a Nation, there is a need to set up an action plan to create an environment that is safer for our children, our workers, and our community members while helping bullies unlearn their activities, and transform their actions into more positive ones.

In a collaborative effort to address this challenge, the Cree Nation Government’s Department of Justice and Correctional Services (DOJCS), the Cree School Board (CSB) and Cree Board of Health and Social Services (CBHSS) organised the First Anti-Bullying Conference. Held under the theme ‘STOP BULLYING – IT'S COOL TO BE KIND’, this first edition took place at Mistissini’s Neoskweskau Complex in November 2013 and was broadcasted live on regional radio to the Cree Nation.

While the three-day event was the opportunity for resource groups to gather and discuss issues related to bullying and youth, the purpose of the anti-bullying conference was three-fold:

  • offer training to frontline workers in all three entities;
  • raise general public awareness about bullying by having diversified programming and a variety of presenters; and
  • finally bring guest speakers to primary and secondary schools to interact with the youth and talk about bullying.

The symposium was also the occasion to introduce a ‘From Me to We’ workshop to teach young girls displaying disruptive behaviour in an elementary school how to turn negative energy into positive leadership.

The list of speakers included :

  • Chuck Winters, retired football player active in the Toronto Argonauts Stop the Violence Campaign
  • Mike Nuets, Make Children Better Now Foundation
  • Orlando Bowen, One Team, One Voice
  • Dr. Debra Pepler, Co-Director of PREVnet, a network of materials and people, often called Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention
  • David Kawapit, leader of Nishiyuu movement that involved a walk in the middle of winter, 1600 km from Whapmagoostui to Parliament Hill in Ottawa
  • Don Burnstick, comedian and inspirational speaker
  • Chris Nilan, former professional athlete and enforcer in hockey
  • Stephane Richer, former professional hockey player
  • Marcel Bellefeuille, CFL coach
  • Reggie Bobbish, Director of EEPF
  • Lisa Petagumskum, Assistant Executive Director, Cree Health Board
  • Michael Chettleburgh, Astwood Corporation, author of Young Thugs, on youth gangs in Canada
  • Ashley Iserhoff, former Deputy Grand Chief
  • Donald Nicholls, Director of Justice and Correctional Services
  • Celina Jimikin and Sheena Costain, Cree SNAP Program