Blueberry River First Nation hosts inaugural Pink Shirt Day event

The Blueberry River First Nation (BRFN) health department hosted a discussion related to the anti-bullying movement Pink Shirt Day at their offices in Fort St. John on February 28th.

This was the first time the First Nation had held a Pink Shirt Day event.

The international movement started in Nova Scotia in 2007 when a pair of male students wore pink shirts to protest the bullying a fellow student received for wearing a pink shirt.

Della Owens, an elder from Moberly Lake, facilitated the discussion between youth and elders. Training services for youths were also provided.

“We’re trying to establish the connection between elders and youth,” says Sandra Apsassin, elders coordinator for BRFN.

Apsassin says the goal was to have ten elders and ten youths aged 16 to 29 participate in the presentation.

There is a “broken trust” between the generations in the community, says Apsassin.

“With that [broken trust,] it can lead to a pile of things,” said Apsassin. “There’s lateral violence, or drug addictions, and mental health issues that are prevalent within our community.”

The simplest thing to prevent those problems, Apsassin says, is creating a dialogue in communities — Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“Much of it simply comes down to communication,” said Apsassin.

After the event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the group of elders and youth were treated to dinner.

Due to the inclement weather, they also spent the night at the Ramada Inn in downtown Fort St. John.

“We got them rooms in Fort St. John. They can go home tomorrow,” said Apsassin.

Apsassin says the BRFN hopes to host this event annually moving forward.

For more information, visit BRFN’s health department Facebook page.

Edward Hitchins, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,