"I know that as a pre-teen and a teenager, I didn’t want to listen to my mom all the time,” says Margaret Dick, “but I had aunties that stood in place and corrected me and made sure I was doing good by our teachings and our cultures.”
Now Margaret is the one acting as a trusted teacher and role model for the youth in her community. Margaret is a leader of the
Ask Auntie program
in Ahoushat, a First Nations community on Flores Island, located off the western coast of Vancouver Island north of Tofino.
Ask Auntie, part of PHSA’s
Indigenous Youth Wellness program
, is for Indigenous girls aged 10-14. Through Ask Auntie, participants have the opportunity to go on a wellness journey where they learn about a holistic, Indigenous understanding of health and their bodies, connection and relationships, culture and the history of colonization, and what it means to be a strong Indigenous girl.
The traumatic legacy of the residential school system and the ongoing realities of colonization and anti-Ingenious racism continue to impact Indigenous youth in B.C. today, contributing to higher rates of suicide in young Indigenous people. Indigenous Health’s Cuystwi program was developed after consultation with young people in Northern B.C. who expressed the need for a youth program rooted in Indigenous cultural teachings that addresses the realities of colonialism and its continuing impacts on Indigenous communities. Ask Auntie is based on Cuystwi, with a specific focus on the needs and experiences of young women.
Check out this video filmed in Ahoushat to learn about more about Ask Auntie and meet some of the leaders and girls who take part in this unique and valuable program.