Spring break up project coming to James Bay
The James Bay coast communities of Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moosonee are planning to document the spring breakup in a photovoice project with its roots in the issue of homelessness and migration.
Mandy Scott, the First Nations coordinator with Laurentian University’s Poverty, Homelessness and Migration project, said the spring break up photovoice project will add to the individual projects already taking place in the communities.
“We want to bring attention to the spring breakup, an awareness of what it is all about,” Scott said. “It’s a really intense time for people on James Bay, but most people in the south don’t have any idea what its all about.”
The idea behind the project is to catalogue not only this year’s breakup in photos, but also historical breakup events.
Scott is asking for community members to take photos and videos of this year’s spring breakup, as well as submit photos from breakups of years past.
“I think what we’ll be able to show is that whether it’s a picture from the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1980s or 2013, not a lot has changed in terms of helping communities deal with this risk in a sustainable way,” Scott said.
The spring break up photovoice idea stemmed from ongoing homelessness projects in Kashechewan and Fort Albany. In Kashechewan, a research project has been examining the effects of flooding on the community and how other communities across Canada have dealt with flood risks. In Fort Albany, a photovoice project was conducted to examine living conditions in the community and start a conversation about the effects of homelessness and poverty in Fort Albany.
Both of those projects were presented to the communities during public meetings held March 5-7.
Scott said that in both communities the turnout and feedback was very positive.
The Laurentian University project team also met with community members in Moosonee during the trip, to present the results of a community poverty and homelessness study and get feedback on the recommendations.
A door-to-door survey done in Moosonee identified four key priorities for the community to address, including a lack of housing, lack of employment opportunities and a lack of support from service providers for people living in poverty.
The community meeting in Moosonee enabled community members to reflect on the recommendations and provide feedback as to which elements should be considered main priorities for the community to deal with.
The study and the recommendations have been given to the mayor and community workers in Moosonee for follow up.
Now the Laurentian team is planning how else to follow up with the communities to work on poverty and homelessness issues.
The spring break up photovoice project is just one of many initiatives the team has planned. Scott said they will make another trip to the communities in July 2013, to follow up on the initial projects and also to scan photos from historical break ups.
Scott added that anyone who wants to participate in the spring break up photovoice project can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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