Substance abuse prevention in OUR COMMUNITIES AND SCHOOLS


Aboriginal youth are at a significant risk of becoming involved in substance abuse. Studies have shown that youth of First Nations, Métis and Inuit descent are of the highest abusers of illicit drug use in Canada (Scott, 1997; Framework Sub-committee of the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation & Thatcher, 2000).


According to the 2002–2003 First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey, although the documented rate of illicit drug use in the past year is low (7.3%) among First Nations, it is still more than double the rate of the general Canadian population (3.0%)(First Nations Centre, 2005). Recently drugs that are being injected are becoming an important issue with respect to the transmission for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2004). A 2003 study done in Vancouver found that the rate of infection of Aboriginals was double to that of non-Aboriginals (Craib et al., 2003). The rate of morbidity resulting from the use of illicit drugs is three times higher for Aboriginals than for the general population (7.0 per 100,000 vs. 2.6 per 100,000 (Scott, 1997)). Volatile solvent abuse is of great concern with one report stating that half the children under 18 living on a reserve in Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba were abusers (O’Brien, 2005, August 24).

In Waswanipi schools, many factors play a role in affecting our youth’s choice to abuse drugs. Substance abuse can be connected to high rates of poverty, unemployment, family breakdown, and social and economic structures. For some youth the belief is that using drugs will alleviate the pain they experience in areas of their life that seem unbearable.

In the report, No Safe Haven: Children of Substance Abusing Parents, it concludes that:
• Children of parents who have a drug and alcohol addiction are almost three times more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted, and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children of parents who are not substance abusers
• Children of substance-abusing parents suffer low self-esteem, depression, self-mutilation, suicide, panic attacks, truancy, and sexual promiscuity, and will replicate later in life the drug and alcohol abuse problems they witnessed in their parents (National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1999)

What are we doing in our schools to prevent the substance abuse among Aboriginal youth?

Increasing the knowledge that youth and students have about drugs is providing them the opportunity to make an educated decision when presented with a situation involving drugs.

It is important to note that culture can have a significant impact on fighting substances. Protective factors such as culture need to be addressed. A sensitive and understanding approach is necessary for our program to reach our youth successfully.

To ensure program effectiveness and relevancy, especially in long-term programs, we plan to involve our students actively in program development. Having the youth perspective can help address key issues that might not be known to different generations; getting insight into the youth population will help us identify that generation’s values and associated behaviours. It is also vital to the development of drug abuse prevention programs, and health promotion programs in general, to involve the program target audience in the needs assessment, program development, design and evaluation of the concerned programs. Incorporating youth into the decisions that affect them serves to improve the effectiveness of all health promotion strategies.

The project we have in our school is geared towards the following outcomes:
1. Increased resiliency to drug use among youth-at-risk
2. Reduced risk behavior among youth-at-risk
3. Preventive substance use programs and practices are addressed, implemented and pursued in schools, homes, hospitals and communities
4. Increased capacity, knowledge and awareness of youth, parents, teachers, health and other professionals on issues of substance abuse and its prevention

Education isn’t enough to fight the substance abuse issues in our communities. Preventing substance abuse is a constant battle and without strong efforts from local communities and organizations that focus on substance abuse prevention nothing will change. As a community, everyone must work together to make changes or ‘break the cycle’; youth must take the lead here.

We know that our Youth are able to spearhead projects that are youth focused and youth managed; projects that will allow them to express their views about substance use within their school and out into our community.


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Teaching starts from a heart full of love, compassion and joy!

Every teacher should have a joyful and loving heart every single day; kids can feel it and respond to it...


Don’t ask what your school can do for you, but what can you do for your school every day!

                                                                             Dr Wakawaka Hughes P.

Breakfast & Lunch program Sponsors

We would like to give a big and Warm thank you to former principal Ms Sophia Galanis, Marieline Kitchen and Louis Bernier for their unconditional support from the beginning of this program. Our thanks also go to The active and humble principal Josee Lalumiere, Vice Principal Michel Branchaud, pastor Allen Etapp, Michel Awashish, Marie Ortepi, teachers and members of the pentecostal church.

  • Maxi Chibougameau
  • Band Office (Mat. Blacksmith)
  • Michel Awashish from Church
  • Jack Otter (Suicide prevention coordinator)
  • Members of Church and volunteers (MaryAnn Ottereyes, etc.)
  • MSDC Team

In the name of God most High, we give thanks to our sponsor and our future sponsors.

If you want to sponsor or volunteer in our Youth Lunch program, please email Dr Waka Hughes at

God bless


The Office of Readaptation and the Waswanipi MSDC/Health board has sealed a great deal of providing extra help to students in need. This is the first deal ever done within the Cree Nation between School and Health Board/MSDC.

We are very thankful to Marie Ortepie, Winnie, Ghislain, Sophie and the whole team at MSDC for the unlimited support and love for our students.


Every Month, the Office of Readaptation and Special Ed hosts a school/community potluck at the school. The idea is to allow community’s members, parents, teachers and students to interact and to know each other better. The overall objective is to prevent and alleviate behavioral issue at our schools.

The first potluck hosted at our school was a great success with almost 600 people attending. We want to give a very warm and special appreciation to Vice Principal Emilie Deschenes for helping us making that potluck happen. Your great contribution to our school and to the Holistic Thinking for Positive Behavior is always treasured.

Saturday Lunch

Every Saturday, we host a free Lunch program at the Pentecostal church (basement) from 12 pm to 2pm.

All the kids are welcome. The menus vary from:

  • Moose Spaghetti
  • Hot dogs
  • fried rice with carrot and meat
  • Pizza
  • Potatoes and fries
  • drink
  • chicken and soup
  • etc.


Movie Night

We host a movie night every Friday at 7 pm with the youth at the Pentecostal Church.

Every kids are welcome. We also have a snack and drink during and after the movie.


Math and Spelling Tournament

We host a Math and Spelling Tournament every weeks at the Rainbow Elementary School.

We are also looking for sponsor to offer various prices to winners.

Thank you!

Start a Youth activities?

If you have an idea of a youth program that will  built our school, church and our community in Jesus, please feel free to contact Pastor Allen Etapp, or the School.

Donate to this program?

If the Creator, God has touched your heart to support the after school program, our lunch program at church or any other project we are involved, please feel free to contact  Pastor Allan Etapp or the school and arrangement could be made to receive your donation.

God bless your heart and your family.

JJK Cree contact

Address for activities: 17, Cedar St.

              Waswanipi, QC, J0Y3C0

Tel: 929-800-2946

School address:  Rainbow School
Waswanipi, Quebec
J0Y 3C0



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