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Onion Lake RCMP and Onion Lake Cree Nation launch gang awareness and prevention project

Onion Lake RCMP and Onion Lake Cree Nation are releasing their latest project promoting their gang awareness and prevention (GAP) resources.

The GAP project is a series of awareness pieces including videos, information booklets and posters for different members of the community such as parents, elders, youth and service providers. The booklet will be available in English, Cree, Michif, Dene and French.

Laili Yazdani, Community Program Officer for the Crime Prevention/Crime Reduction Unit, says it has been a long-term project stemming out of a Chief and Council drug forum in 2017.

“During these forums, there were requests to increase community awareness about drugs and gangs. It took some time but the GAP project was later initiated in consultation with the Onion Lake Treaty Governance Office and the Elder’s Council. We worked together to look at what we could put together to help the community and surrounding communities that may be dealing with some of these issues.”

Yazdani adds the project is one component of the Saskatchewan RCMPs Gang Strategy. Inspector Tammy Patterson says it will be another tool to raise gang awareness and gang prevention along with the End Gang Life materials.

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“This material will enhance and compliment that program which we hope to continue using in schools in partnership with communities and other community based organizations.”

Yazdani is also working on creating a provincial Youth Consultative Committee to help further expand the RCMPs Gang Strategy.

The Ekweskeet Healing Lodge is a drug and alcohol treatment centre featured in the first video and is located in Onion Lake. Carmen Carter-Mountain, a Prevention and Outreach Worker with the lodge, says awareness is key to change within the community.

“Our community is a strong community where we know a problem is there and we know that something needs to be done. One thing about our community is that when we come together, we are strong and we all show each other love and support.”

She hopes the project will help encourage individuals to avoid trying drugs and joining gangs.

A total of five videos will be released on the Onion Lake RCMP Facebook page, the RCMP Youtube channel and are available upon request by contacting the Crime Prevention/Crime Reduction Unit.

Yazdani mentions she hopes to hear some feedback from those using the materials.

“Hopefully, people will share some feedback with how they’re using it. The videos for example maybe they can be used in schools or with youth groups. It’ll be interesting to see how that shapes and develops.”

The GAP project is funded by the Government of Saskatchewan’s Rural Crime Innovation Fund.

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