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My interest lies in the criminal justice system in Canada and how it treats its' Indigenous Peoples. My research focuses on dangerous offenders and FASD specifically in Saskatchewan. You don't hear the term 'ACES' being mentioned in my circles.  I believe this movement needs to be heard in the legal community. As a 52-year-old Metis lawyer and scholar, and Gladue report writer, I have found that the journey to healing as allowed for an enlightened perspective. Formerly, my work led me to FASD and intersections with the CJS. I have since realized, current caselaw demonstrates we continue to house my indigenous brethren with little concern for alternatives to incarceration. The TRC and Supreme Court of Canada demand we implement steps to halt the effects of colonialization and yet...we fail to implement meaningful changes. I hope to create an Indigenous ACES blog that speaks to justice in Canada. I would like to know if there is any interest out there?


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Hello Bonnie, I think this is a great idea. Maybe you can initiate a movement in the legal community?

Are you familiar with the Circle of Courage Youth Intervention Program? The Circle of Courage Intervention Program was implemented in the Blood Tribe Reserve (Alberta) from 2010 to 2013. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta. This is not categorized as an "ACEs program" but you might find some helpful information there regarding "resilience building" programs. On this page there is a contact number for further details from the Kainai Community Corrections Society.

Another interesting downloadable document on education for "at-risk" youth is "Lost Prizes-Manitoban and International Initiatives to Identify and Develop the Talents of At-Risk Populations". The Circle of Courage is described on page 12 more thoroughly. This is strength-based education model used to empower "at-risk youth" but I have used it universally with all youth from k-12 and with adults in ESL classrooms. Here is a quote that might support your ideas and work:

"Brendtro, Brokenleg, and Van Bockern emphasized as well that our β€œwars” on crime and poverty have set the stage for adversarial, us-versus-them scenarios rather than for cooperative, collaborative problem solving. Along the same lines, they have indicated that biased, blaming d-word labelling of youth (e.g., deprived, deviant, disobedient, disordered, disrespectful, disruptive, and disturbed) causes deficit-based overfocusing on the negatives. The Circle of Courage is a compensatory attempt to create a strength-based model of youth empowerment. Although the Native American traditions and philosophies of child rearing are front and centre, the framework is also grounded solidly in contemporary developmental psychology and research, and in the sensitive observations and insights of early youth workers."

It is often difficult to find the information you need using "ACEs" as a search term (i.e. in Canada). You might also find some helpful resources at Think Upstream for social justice, public policy and the social determinants of health (as these issues are all interconnected). Perhaps you can contribute your research or partner with them? Check out their services. They also have a YouTube Channel-Upstream.

In terms of blogging, as a member you are encouraged to contribute blogs here at ACEs Connection. You can also create your own initiative as a special topics group to get started and then link to your own website if you already have one: )

Both Denise Connors and Elizabeth Perry have done lots of work in Canada regarding ACEs advocacy and they are the community managers for Canadian ACEs and TI Network. I encourage you to reach out to them also for more specific guidance regarding the Canadian landscape for ACEs initiatives.

HI Bonnie,

Thanks so much for joining us here and for initiating a discussion about how we can use ACEs to improve the conditions for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This has been one of my long standing visions. I believe ACEs are the data that can finally contextualize the continued maltreatment of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples in the light we have yet obtusely seemed to miss as a society.

We have a few members in our Canadian ACEs and Trauma Informed Network who identify as Indigenous and are also working to improve conditions in the lives of the people in their communities.

As you would know there are also many people across Canada working on this goal.

However you are right, ACEs is not yet talked about openly or directly - not just regarding Indigenous peoples but for the most part in the rest of Canada as well.

Most of us still operate in silos, focusing on specific target areas for improvement - poverty reduction, domestic violence prevention and support, corrections and justice system reform, homelessness, mental health, child protection etc.

That's why I talk ACEs. I see ACEs as being the umbrella which includes all the areas in our society where we fall down in ensuring that each member has their fundamental needs met.

I'm thankful to hear you also see the importance and relevance of focusing our social transformation conversations around ACEs.

If you're on Twitter, you should follow me @ACEsCanada2020 I can connect you there with many people working towards your goal.

In the meantime, please feel free to post anything relevant you create or come across that helps us all understand better how Indigenous Peoples are impacted by the persistent social ills they are subjected to and ways we can change collectively for the better.

It's great to have you with us.

Elizabeth Perry

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