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Boys’ with Braids event aims to bring cultural awareness and sensitivity training to youth at St. Benedict

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In photo: Student Cole Hickey listens to Charles Petahtegoose speak along with Andres Bedoya, Maya Naponse, Clarissa Poulson, Perry McLeod-Shabogesic and Zach Vallely.

June 11, 2018 - Don’t cave to any public pressures of any kind. That was the message delivered to students at St. Benedict as part of a school wide assembly this week.

The assembly was put on by the Indigenous Club and Diversity Club in partnership with funding from a Speak Up grant provided by the Ministry of Education.

Boys with Braids events were first started by Michael Linklater, a Cree from Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan who wanted to raise awareness of why Indigenous boys and men wear a braid. Linklater was teased and bullied at school.

Speakers Charles Petahtegoose from Atikameksheng and Wasauksing along with Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, a traditional co-ordinator at Shkagamik-Kwe Health shared their wisdom on why braids are a symbol of strength and wisdom that reflects identity.
The speakers were able to explain to the students that the issue transcends braids to anything they see in society from another culture.

Afterwards, the speakers held a power circle teaching for a group of students to talk about how braids, bullying and the struggle to conform has impacted their lives.

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