Dakota House, others, speaking at youth empowerment conference this weekend

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

An empowering and important conference will be taking place at the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre on January 19 and 20. it’s for youth and young adults called “Empowering Our Youth” Conference 2019.

Barb Courtorielle, executive director for the Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre, says it is a very important event with the increasing suicide rate in young adults and youth. She explains that is one of the reasons the centre decided to put on the conference.

“We want to empower our youth and show them there are better choices and better ways to deal with the situations they are in,” Courtorielle says, “It could be bullying, personal issues, dealing with school or whatever the issue might be.”

Some of the speakers coming are well known throughout Canada and internationally says Courtorielle. She she found most of the speakers through other conferences she had previously attended.

Courtorielle says speakers include Joanne Bellerose, Brittany Johnson, Conway Kootaney, Arlene Twinn, Travis Dugas Bellerose and Dakota House.

One of the speakers, Arlene Twinn, used to work with the community helps program at the centre says Courtorielle.

Jo-Anne Bellerose has come to the centre and done some training before and she is going to be, doing a workshop on the ‘River of Life‘.

Travis Dugas Bellerose who was born in Slave Lake is going to be speaking about suicide prevention.

Courtorielle says she attended one of Brittany Johnson’s conferences in the past and she is a singer-songwriter and a suicide survivor. She will be speaking about her personal experiences and her life.

Another strong speaker coming is Conway Kootaney. Kootaney is a comedian and he will be doing a workshop called Healing Through Humour. He will also be doing a one-hour comedy show on Saturday evening.

On Sunday actor Dakota House will be the only speaker. He is also a strong speaker who has spoken internationally and across Canada.

There will also be a mini round dance for healing and prayers following the comedy show.

The event will start on Saturday morning and kick off with a pipe ceremony from elder Dusty Twin, followed by breakfast, before diving into the workshops.

Courtorielle says they are charging youth $20 and adults $45 to attend, to help with food costs.

The event is funded by Alberta Health Services (AHS,) Which gave the centre some money to help line up speakers.

Courtorielle says the AHS will also be sending a representative to attend the event.

For more information on the conference or to buy tickets call Sarah Lamouche at 780-849-3039 or email [email protected]

Dakota House

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