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Traditional parenting

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services

Fort Smith (Mar 28/05) - The first in a series of two-week course in traditional parenting started recently in Fort Smith.

"There has never been anything like this in the Northwest Territories," says Eva Beaulieu, the instructor/mentor for the course.

"We're going back to basics, back to the old days," Beaulieu explains.

One of the aims of the course is to recover traditional parenting skills lost in residential schools.

"We lost parenting skills and lost self-identity," Beaulieu says of the residential schools. "We've lost lots."

Beaulieu explains the course's lessons are based on principles of the medicine wheel, and will look to the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs of people.

The objectives include passing on traditional parenting skills, improving communication, building parental self-esteem, respecting children, praising and encouraging children, and managing anger. The course will also strengthen pride in traditional values.

Lorette Goulet of the Ben Calf Robe Society in Edmonton will help launch the course.

Beaulieu says the course can be useful to a wide variety of people. "It's for anyone who is a caregiver of children."

That includes couples or single parents, mothers or fathers, and grandparents.

The course, which runs weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon, will accept up to 10 participants.

Beaulieu says the course will be ongoing, and hopes it will be offered at least once a month.

It is being offered at Uncle Gabe's Friendship Centre in conjunction with the Wellness and Healing Program of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.