Meeting Artistic and Cultural Needs of Youth in the North
For the past seven years, Cameco and Creative Kids have partnered in the Cameco Creative Kids Northern Cultural Fund, designed to increase opportunities for children and youth in the north to participate in arts and cultural activities that make a difference. For one northern community, this fund provided an opportunity for youth to learn about their cultural heritage in a fun way.
This past year, the Northern Village of Denare Beach received a grant to offer hoop dance training for the youth. For eight weeks, youth ages 7 to 12 from the community were engaged in Hoop Dancing where they learned the valuable circle of life lessons. These lessons included using “the seven teachings” of courage, honesty, truth, wisdom, love, humility and respect.
Wanting to engage youth in a fun cultural activity, recreation director of Denare Beach, Mel Durette, contacted Kellen Blouin, a hoop dancer who runs her own hoop troupe called Nemihitowok Hoop Troupe to see if she would be interested in running a hoop dance program in the community.
“She was more than happy to!” says Durette. “I ordered all the material for the participants to be able to make their own hoops and decorate them, and organized the whole hoop dancing class.”
The program was received with great interest by the youth, parents and the community. Its great success became a challenge when COVID-19 impacted the area and social gathering protocols were needed. Durette says they have a very large community room so there was space to physically distance, but other COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time resulted in them postponing the program for a couple of weeks.
“By providing a beginner’s Hoop Dance class to the youth of the community, I believe we have caused some excitement or spark in the youth who participated,” she says. “They are eagerly waiting for next year in hopes that the hoop dancing program will be available. They were definitely not ready for it to be over.”