Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A series of online sessions will provide support and a safe space for Indigenous men to share their experiences.
The Child and Youth Milopemahtesewin Services (CYMS) program has partnered with the Indigenous Men’s Alliance (IMA) to host a four-part webinar series called Firekeepers: Roles and Responsibilities of an Indigenous Man.
The free sessions will be held via Microsoft Teams on Nov. 18-19 and Nov. 25-26, starting at 6:30 p.m.
“We want our men to be in a better place and be a better father, be a better man. The only people that are going to benefit from that are their families, their children and their partners,” said Touchan Fiddler, CYMS’ parent wellness worker.
Facilitated by Fiddler and Kris Morrison of IMA, the webinars will touch on four topics: hunting, firekeeping, protecting and providing.
“One of the things we tried to look at are the roles of an Indigenous man like providing, protecting. And the main focus is firekeeping,” Fiddler said. “Firekeeping is a role that a lot of the men take pride in and that’s one of the things as a young man you’re taught to learn how to do it. How to keep the fire going, to keep your family warm, to provide a good meal.”
Fiddler said he wanted to team up with IMA because of the positive work Morrison has been doing in the community.
“And one of the things that really got me is he carries the guiding principles of our teachings like the Seven Grandfather Teachings,” he said. “His knowledge for supporting men and creating a brave space, that’s the kind of thing I wanted to have for our men.”
There will be four special guest speakers who will share their knowledge and experiences with the participants. Fiddler also noted the webinars are not limited to people only living in Moose Factory and Moosonee.
“If they want to learn and they want to share what they’re going to learn to another (person), we want to provide that mentorship and we want to keep it ongoing,” he said.
Fiddler said there’s been “quite a bit” of interest from the community and he hopes more men will become aware of the event after the first session is held.
“The way it’s going now, we’re getting interest not only in Moosonee and Moose Factory but from different areas of the province and the next province,” he said.
There will also be two draws each session with a chance to win IMA merchandise.