From the desk of the Director of Nanaandawewenin

Boozhoo, Bebaamaashiik n’dego, Bebomikamigook gaye, mikinaak nindoodem.  Hello, my name is Shannon Blight and I am a descendant of Couchiching First Nation.  I have been employed at Weechi-it-te-win since 2005 as a Family Violence Intervention Coordinator, Resource Manager, Clinical Team Leader; and most recently (2014), I was hired as the Director of Nanaandawewenin.  My education is in the field of social work.  I am a graduate of Carleton University (HBSW) and the University of Minnesota-Duluth (MSW).   At Weechi-it-te-win I am responsible for our cultural services, clinical/psychological services, and youth treatment services. 

I love and care for Weechi-it-te-win (helping one another) and understand the importance of promoting our philosophy and vision in everything that we do.   Being bi-culturally proficient and providing every service in a culturally safe manner is of utmost importance, especially when working in a system that is strongly influenced by western standards.  Having safeguards in place for our psychological services which obligates WFS and the Psych Associate to consult with the community before a report is finalized is one of many features that make Weechi-it-te-win’s clinical services unique.  It is also paramount that we participate in research projects that are relevant for our communities and that build an evidence base for our traditional ways of living and helping one another. 

We have recently partnered with Laurentien University and Wikwemikong Health Services to implement the Aboriginal Child Health and Well Being Measure within our system.  This is a culturally safe measure that determines aggregate wellness levels in children.  In 2015, we completed one research project and are in planning stages to investigate how the ACHWM compares to the ONLAC which is currently required in Ontario.  Additionally, Weechi-it-te-win has partnered with CAMH and other Aboriginal service providers to develop of a culturally safe, trauma informed drug and alcohol assessment.  It is vitally important that clinical assessment and screening tools be meaningful and culturally safe for our people and this is why we seek out opportunities to participate in such initiatives.  We look for sustainable methods to help families in need and such ways already exist within our communities; it is a matter of bringing these practices to the forefront so that all helpers can work in this manner with our people. 

I am always amazed by what people can accomplish when their hearts are in a good place.  The successful relocation of our Ganawendaasowin Treatment Program from the Ivik property to our new property at 71 McTavish Road (Abinoojii Akiing) is the result of diligence, dedication, perseverance and many hours of hard work.  I am proud to announce that the new Ganawendaasowin Treatment Program opened in June 2015 with an approved water system and full license as a children’s residence.  

I look forward to helping with many more developments that will enhance the resource bank that is Weechi-it-te-win.  If you would like further information on any of our services please do not hesitate to contact me at 807-274-3201 ext. 4063 or email at shannon.blight@weechi.ca