Bell Let's Talk supports at-risk youth in Peguis First Nation with the Bell Spirit and the Land Excursion Camp

Peguis First Nation, Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bell Let's Talk today announced a donation of $110,000 to the Peguis Foundation and SunLodge Village to support a 4-season land-based traditional wellness program for at-risk youth in Peguis First Nation.

"Bell Let's Talk is proud to support SunLodge Village and the traditional programming it offers young people in Peguis First Nation," said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let's Talk. "The Peguis Foundation and SunLodge Village are making a meaningful difference in the lives of the next generation and we look forward to partnering to help more at-risk youth in Manitoba through traditional healing practices."

The Bell Spirit and the Land Excursion Camp will engage a total of 64 youth participants annually over 4 years. At these traditional camps, at-risk youth will come to find their Indigenous identity, reconnect with the strength of their traditional culture, and address their mental health issues in traditional ways. The program seeks to provide an integrated experience of healing in all aspects of health, including body, mind, spirit and relationships with others.

"Elders hold crucial roles in supporting education in our communities and serve as positive role models for young people and their families," said Lloyd Sinclair, President of Peguis Foundation Inc. "Peguis Foundation is pleased to partner with the SunLodge Village and Bell Let's Talk to provide a traditional learning environment for our elders to share their knowledge with our children, building a strong community for future generations."

Youth will experience traditional ways of living through camping, learning survival skills, harvesting and preparing traditional foods, gathering natural medicines, and sharing the harvest with family and community. These experiences will be integrated with traditional teachings, sharing circles and ceremony to foster healing through cultural connection.

"As the first people of Turtle Island, we recognize and acknowledge the original and natural laws, for the sake of our mother the earth, who sustains all life," said the Elders of SunLodge. "Many mental health issues affecting the lives of our people are caused by disconnection from our traditional ways of being. We are grateful for this new partnership with Bell Let's Talk, which will provide additional opportunities for youth to be on the land, learning about their culture and improving their health and wellbeing."

Today's announcement is the latest major commitment from the Bell Let's Talk fund for Indigenous mental health in Manitoba, which was announced in 2017 following the creation of Bell MTS. Other groups supported by the fund include Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata in 2017, Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin in 2018, and Bear Clan Patrol and Behavioural Health Foundation in 2019.

For more information about how to get involved with the Bell Spirit and the Land Excursion Camp at the SunLodge Village, please contact Ernest Stevenson at 431-338-2445.

Bell Let's Talk Day is January 29
Everyone is invited to join the conversation on Bell Let's Talk Day by sending messages of support across multiple platforms to drive awareness and action in mental health.

Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of the following communications, at no extra cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access:

  • Talk: Every mobile and every long distance call made by Bell wireless and phone customers
  • Text: Every text message sent by Bell wireless customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk, featuring the special Bell Let's Talk emoji, and every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Twitter.com/Bell_LetsTalk
  • Facebook: Every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Facebook.com/BellLetsTalk and every use of the Bell Let's Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at Instagram.com/Bell_LetsTalk
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let's Talk filter and every Bell Let's Talk Day video view
  • YouTube: Every Bell Let's Talk Day video view at YouTube.com/BellCanada

The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is focused on 4 key action pillars: Anti-stigma, Care and Access, Research and Workplace Leadership. Since its launch in September 2010, Bell Let's Talk has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations providing mental health services in every region of Canada, including hospitals, universities and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

About Peguis Foundation and SunLodge Village
Peguis Foundation Inc. is an independent registered charitable organization that supports local Indigenous non-profit organizations, including the SunLodge Village at Peguis First Nation. The SunLodge Village is a Manitoba registered non-profit organization of Indigenous Elders, traditional knowledge carriers, volunteers and community members.

As an Indigenous grassroots organization, the SunLodge Village operates without government funding. The SunLodge Village is dedicated to promoting health, strength and resilience among Indigenous people through providing ceremonies, traditional teachings, community gatherings and land-based experiences.

Media Inquiries:

Morgan Shipley
Bell MTS
204-391-2849
morgan.shipley@bellmts.ca
@Bell_LetsTalk
@Bell_News

Maurice Brubacher
SunLodge Village
705-665-2234
mbrubacher@outlook.com