Media can re-enforce our notion of positive self-image and as we've seen in popular culture, it can also destroy it. Possibly for the first time in Canada, native people are seeing themselves as part of a modern Canada and Canada is starting to respond. The power that positive images have on our self-worth is proven. When a person raises their self-confidence to inialize positive change in their lives, they often start by addressing what holds them back. With programs like the Sacred Gift of Tobacco, commercial tobacco with it's addictive qualities are clearly put in place as an oppressive comodoty and a colonial mechanism that has exerted forms of control on the native population since Cartier. Semah or natural tobacco, is a native medicine that has been used for hundreds of years in ceremony and healing.
Working with youth on a range of issues such as tobacco, diabetes, gambling or abuse can be an overwhelming prospect. NLP has been fortunate to work with highly qualified, trained and acredited facilitators in the community to bring a sense of purpose and hope to at-risk indigenous urban youth through various programs such as the Sweetgrass Road camp, youth programing at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, The Métis Artists Collective's Art Festival, projedcts for the Association of Native Development in the Visual and Preforming Arts ANDPVA and many others.
Although the following examples are from back in the DV production days, their messages are strong and still ring true. The clients who commissioned these, are still using them today. I am proud they stand the test of time, but its' the message that's even bigger than the production.