Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Child and Youth Care student helps Aboriginal youth grow and prosper

Lacy Morin-Dejarlais dances at the opening of the Aboriginal Gathering Place Jan. 19.                                                                            David Denofreo photo
By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

Lacy Morin-Dejarlais’ desire to give back runs deep. A member of Saskatchewan’s Saulteaux First Nation and Métis, Lacy grew up in foster care. She believes it is her duty to help young Aboriginal people tackle the types of hurdles she experienced and give them the strength and guidance to grow and prosper.

That’s why she chose to study Child and Youth Care at Douglas.

“Because of the residential school system and other aspects of First Nations history, a lot of our young people are in care,” Lacy says. “Many access services in the community that give them extra support, yet you don't see a lot of First Nations people in the decision-making positions. I feel it's my responsibility to be part of that community of support and to be in those positions.”

Her love of dance runs deep, too. Last year Lacy founded the Douglas College group Powwow: Dancing the Beginning, with the aim of fostering community among Aboriginal students and passing on the teachings of the pow wow, a dance of celebration. Her passion for pow wow is so strong, she feels it’s part of her very identity.

“My regalia - my colours, my symbols, everything - speak to who I am. And the power of that drum – it’s like our whole nation's heartbeat, and I'm dancing to it. It makes me feel like I'm home wherever I am. I could be in Vancouver, I could be on the island or all the way across the country on the East Coast in Mi’kmaq territory, but when I hear that drum I immediately feel a sense of home.”