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Shelley Faintuch

Chief of Canadian Cree Nation Returns to Israel for Second Annual Youth Leadership Trip

For Immediate Release, May 18, 2013

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada– This week, the Norway House Cree Nation begins its second annual Youth Leadership Development Mission to Israel. Led by Norway House Chief Ron Evans, Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the trip brings thirty First Nations youth leaders to Israel for a ten-day study of culture and society in one of the world’s most diverse countries.


For Chief Evans, who served two terms as Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Israeli experience naturally resonates with Canada’s First Nations. “As with last year’s inaugural program, our aim is to develop the next generation of First Nations leaders by looking through the lens of Israel’s inspiring story,” said Evans. “Israel is first and foremost the land of the heritage of the Jewish people, who have achieved self-determination in a modern democracy and diverse state. Those of us from First Nations communities can appreciate the fascinating balance between modern and ancient that we see in Israel, and especially the sense of connection to the land of one’s ancestors.”


In addition to traditional tour sites (including Masada, Jerusalem’s Old City, and Yad Vashem – Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum), this year’s itinerary provides opportunities for more interaction and dialogue with Israelis. This includes visits to the Mifneh Center (which provides autism therapy) in Rosh Pina and Kav Hazinuk, an organization that develops youth leaders from areas of Israel plagued by inequality and a lack of opportunity. Participants will also visit several sites with a distinctively Canadian connection, including the Asper Community Action Centre in Ramot – a facility funded by the Asper family of Winnipeg that hosts technology training programs for special needs and disadvantaged youth. Norway House youth will also enjoy a unique opportunity to help lead in a power-skating and hockey drills clinic with the Canada-Israel Hockey School in Metulla – home to Israel’s only full-sized rink. In addition to conducting a training session for 25 youth from northern Israel at Metulla’s Canada Centre, the group will be bringing some 15 large moving crates of gently used hockey equipment, collected by Winnipeg’s Spartan Sports, Gray Academy and Brock Corydon School, and transported by Air Canada.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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