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If a young person comes from a stable home environment, he or she doesn’t have many problems in life. If a young
person comes from a problematic family environment, he or she will continue to lead a negative lifestyle and will get
into all kinds of trouble later in life. He or she will abuse alcohol, drugs and other substances. Some eventually take
their own life. When they get their assistance check the money goes to their habits and they think they’re having the
time of their life and it’s very sad. They don’t seem to care. I talk to them all the time.
There is a lot of social problems in our community. If only you can hear the older people tell their side of the story;
how they struggle to try help their family like child custody, family separation and trying to hold the family together.
Even if you tell the chief and council of how to handle that situation, it won’t work. The reason for that is some
people are disregarded and not encouraged about how to improve their situations. There are certain people in our
community which the chief and council will help because of their status in the community. People are not treated
equally and that’s one of the problems. There’s plenty to talk about on this subject and it’s complicated.
You were brought up in a different environment and college educated. You didn’t live in your own community and
I don’t think you’re aware of the social situations we face in our communities. My lifestyle is very different from
yours. I still follow the traditional way of life and the young people tend to follow the white man’s way.
We used to preserve our food long time, even though, we didn’t have freezers those days.
We still manage to preserve moose meat, caribou, fish and water fowl during the summer. They used to dig in the
ground and permafrost to bury their food,
I remember when the Indian Agent came into our community to give us our treaty money. People used to go and
dig up their smoked geese to sell them. We were only getting four dollars annually and we still do.
I have quite a few similar stories to tell you and now today, the monthly social assistance is enough to provide
you for a month and that depends how many dependents you have or enough to buy other necessary items. The
government is very generous that way. Yet, the HBC manager takes all he can from you.


Teachings by Sinclair Wynne


teachings alcohol life social problems family chief council food

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