Honouring Life Network Blog

Welcome to the HLN Blog! Here you will find postings about news items, positive youth programming across the country and beyond, job postings, resources, websites, scholarships/awards, research funding and other things that we think might be relevant to youth or youth workers visiting our site. If you’re looking for something specific, check out the tags at the end of each post and on the right-hand menu. The HLN blog should be interactive, so please feel free to leave a comment about any of the postings, or to email us if you have an idea for an HLN blog posting.

First Nations Artists Go Hip and Urban at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Beat Nation exhibition

Sonny Assu and other First Nations artists go hip and urban, challenging stereotypes at a new Vancouver Art Gallery show

Sonny Assu is a child of the ’80s who spent his formative years soaked in television, sugar, and Spider-Man comics. Describing his youth with his Kwakwaka’wakw mother and grandparents in the suburbs of North Delta, the 36-year-old artist, who recently relocated from Vancouver to Montreal, speaks fondly of “reading comic books and [watching] movies and advertising and Star Wars, and [eating] sugary cereals.…All that stuff was as much my culture as my traditional heritage was.”

His art, a kind of hybrid of aboriginal and pop, could not come out of any other upbringing. Assu is perhaps best known for his Coke Salish piece (the words Enjoy Coast Salish Territory spelled out in the iconic Coca-Cola script) and his riff on familiar cereals, boxes boasting names such as “Treaty Flakes” and “Salmon Loops”, which, at first glance, could easily be mistaken for their Post and Kellogg’s counterparts.

“It’s definitely really interesting to see that this urban aboriginal identity is really starting to take hold—which is really indicative of what the conditions are like in Canada, because most aboriginal people do live in urban settings,” he observes, in conversation with the Straight in the VAG library.

The always witty and often cheeky Assu, an Emily Carr University of Art + Design grad, is fast gaining recognition for works that use pop-culture references and biting satire to bring attention to First Nations issues. He is also part of what could be dubbed a new wave of aboriginal artists—highlighted in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Beat Nation exhibition—melding urban, street, and hip-hop culture with their traditional heritage. These young artists are ushering in a new kind of culture, redefining what it is to be Native in a media-saturated world, and challenging stereotypes with double-edged humour.

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Source: First Perspective

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Community Lifelines

Check out www.communitylifelines.com

Community Lifelines is a group that provides strengths-based approaches to solutions for challenges related to wellness, mental health and suicide prevention. Their focus is on the importance of connectednes to mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Connectedness of individuals, families and communities.

David Masecar, a Psychological Associate who runs the organization quotes the following:

"A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a closer look at how communities are able to go from high suicide rates to much lower rates, or how individuals and families were able to lessen the impact of suicide, even multiple suicides. In meeting with individuals and groups, sharing stories one factor became clear - connectedness. Individuals, families and communities that increased connectedness experienced a decline in the number of suicides and their impact. Connectedness could mean connecting with culture, family, community, each other or even activities. Since that time, in stories, comments and observations shared by individuals, families and communities, this theme has repeated many times over."

And says:
The above is both simple and complex. The idea of increased "connectedness" can be misinterpreted as "if we all just hold hands and get along", our problems will be solved. While true to some degree, the dynamic of connectedness requires recognizing the impact of history, trauma and how systems (political, social, economic, religious) fragment, rather than connect communities. it also requires different frameworks for addressing challenges (biological, psychological, social and spiritual) that build upon skills and resources, rather than reinforcing deficits and dysfunction.

Community Lifelines conducts research, provides workshops and training and provides conference and meeting planning. More detailed information about these services can be found on their website, along with links to other resources - toolkits, pamphlets, check-lists and links to presentations, websites and organizations.

Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health's new website

Check out the new Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health website www.youknowwhoiam.com. There are lots of personal stories to help inspire hope across our country. There is also an opportunity to submit a video to end the stigma associated with mental health, with a chance to win $2500!!!!
Check it out!

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