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Keepers of the Fire: Reclaiming Indigenous Fire Safety
Michelle Vandevord (Day Star Woman) and Sheena Sinclair – Keepers of the Fire: Reclaiming Indigenous Fire Safety
We are excited to announce this month’s sharing circle, Keepers of the Fire: Reclaiming Indigenous Fire Safetyby Michelle Vandevord (Day Star Woman) and Sheena Sinclair, on February 18th from 10:00 to 11:30 am PST. To register, please click on the following link and fill out the registration form: https://forms.gle/qF9483KWE6DM25yR6
About the event:
In Canada, there is a significant public safety gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. On average, First Nations reserve residents in Canada are 18 times more likely to be evacuated as a result of disasters such as wildfires, compared to people living off-reserve. For residential fires, the number of fire incidents and fire injuries per capita for First Nations is nearly 2.5 times greater and fire fatalities are 10 times higher compared to the Canadian average.In this presentation, you will learn from Day Star Woman Michelle Vandevord and Sheena Sinclair about the inspiring work being done to reclaim Indigenous fire safety through fire prevention education and youth action.About the presenters:
Michelle Vandevord (Day Star Woman) is from Muskoday First Nation, Saskatchewan. Michelle is a mother of three daughters and three adopted sons. She is also a very proud Kookum (‘Grandmother’ in Cree) to four smart, handsome and funny boys who in Michelle’s words “are the reasons I work so hard”.Michelle is currently the Associate Director for Saskatchewan First Nation Emergency Management (SFNEM) in Prince Albert. SFNEM provides Fire and Emergency Training, Response Services to First Nation communities, and organizations. SFNEM’s mission is to build capacity on-reserve so First Nations can lead and manage their emergencies as they have planned. This capacity is built through a wide array of services and courses ranging from Structural & Wildland Fire Hall Assessments, Community Risk Assessments, Emergency Management courses, Firefighting courses and Daycare and Headstart Inspections. SFNEM also leads the Free Firefighting equipment donation program that coordinates donations of used firefighting gear within the communities that need them the most.In 2019, Michelle was voted in as the Saskatchewan Director for the Aboriginal Firefighters Association of Canada (AFAC). In 2020, she was voted in as AFAC’s first female President. Michelle is the first woman to hold both of these positions in the Association’s history.Sheena Sinclair, a youth and a youth worker in Stanley Mission, northern Saskatchewan, is a Preparing Our Home leader in her community. Stanley Mission is a remote community faced with very high fire risk and has gone through a number of deeply traumatic evacuations. Sheena organized a series of workshops over the spring, summer and fall seasons (accompanied by delicious meals cooked by Sheena and her team!). The activities include hazard mapping and community asset mapping, First Aid basics, youth-led fire safety, youth preparedness training and strategies (personal/household and community levels), and traditional food preservation practices (fish preparation).