Proud to Announce Support for First Nation Youth and Resource Center

The team behind SharpShooter Funding has long understood the need to give back to local communities right here in Canada, as well as those further afield. We recognize that we are a product of the community, and that great things can happen if we work together and offer support to those who need it. his is what initially turned our attentions towards the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology - or SAIT - and their Chinook Lodge . The Chinook Lodge is designed as a support and resource center for students from Indigenouscommunities in the area. We are excited and energized by the opportunities that this project offers to these local communities, and we are proud to be able to be of assistance. When we heard that the Chinook Lodge was holding a Speaker Series event on October 4th & 5th to promote to raise awareness, we were compelled to help. This led to our donation of $5000 towards helping to fund the Lodge and to ensure that the Speaker Series achieves its aims. So, at 4:30pm on October 4th, we presented our check to the Chinook Lodge as part of the events taking place on that day. Following this, the introductions began: our own Bret 'the Hitman' Hart was there to speak, as was Ervin Chartrand, a former gang leader and convict turned filmmaker and youth activist, truly a fascinating figure in the community. Originating in the Ojibway/Metis communities of the Pine Creek First Nations, Chartrand's early life was troubled. With seemingly no opportunities or recourse available to him, the grit and glamour of the gang life style soon began to beckon. The young man soon found himself in an increasingly dire situation.
In 1998, the inevitable happened: Chartrand's gangland activities attracted the attention of law enforcement and the youngster was sentenced to a lengthy prison sentence. While serving time, Ervin Chartrand became one of the subjects of The Sharing Circle's 2005 television documentary, Long Road, Full Circle; an experience which accelerated his rehabilitation, and fueled his desire to move towards filmmaking. Since his release in 2006, Ervin Chartrand has become a celebrated filmmaker, focusing on the social issues which are affecting so many of his people, even in our so-called enlightened age. His directorial credits include If This Was Right, Sister and many others. He has worked on other documentaries for The Sharing Circle, as well as on the television series Tipi Tales. In 2010, Chartrand produced a documentary in association with the National Film Board. FIGHT was aired on Netflix that same year, sitting alongside such works as Trafficking and Lifer on Chartrand's impressive documentary CV. But, powerful as Ervin Chartrand's work may be, he is aware that this power can be further enhanced. This is why he embarks on tours during which he delivers his spoken word presentations, demonstrating the importance of making the right choices and the possibilities which lay just beyond the horizon. While the Chinook Lodge is primarily a facility for use by students at SAIT, the events days on October 4th and 5th saw the space open its doors and welcome in visitors from a variety of different backgrounds and communities across Southern Alberta.

On October 4th, many of those in attendance were SAIT faculty staff and students, while on the 5th, Indigenous junior high students from across the region, as well as their parents and teachers, came to hear the message. Ervin Chartrand is an adept public speaker and is able to alter and adapt his delivery based on who he is speaking to. No matter which audience he addressed, the message was loud and clear. His words always deliver that positive and invigorating message that everybody needs to hear in their lives. Watching Ervin talk was fascinating, thanks to his story, his delivery, and the quality of his advice. We were enthralled during his speech and were privileged to be able to watch a clip from his latest piece of filmmaking. This is why Bret Hart and all of the team at Sharpshooter Funding are such major believers in the difference Ervin is making to the youth of this region and this country at large.

Looking back on the afternoon and evening, it is clear that the Chinook Lodge and SAIT's presentation event was a success. An inclusive space in the Senator Burns Building portion of the SAIT campus, the Chinook Lodge is open to all SAIT students of all backgrounds and from all communities. Here, the Chinook Lodge - or 'The Lodge' as it is affectionately known on campus - becomes a means to deliver advice, support and assistance to students struggling with all manner of problems.

The Chinook lodge:
  • Provides advisors to students who need assistance gaining access to the support or funding they need
  • Provides counseling for career and academic concerns
  • Helps students to develop the right strategies for academic success
  • Offers a space within which students can access the technological support they require
  • Facilitates meetings with Elders, who can assist with┬ácultural and spiritual questions and guidance
  • Holds networking events designed to help students form connections and build the right relationships
  • Operates a rich calendar of events which gives students the opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the Southern Alberta region

This is a project that we are very proud to be involved with, and we are overjoyed to be able to provide assistance and funding to the students of SAIT. This is only the beginning. We hope to work even more closely with the group in the future. In addition to this, we also hope to see some of these bright and talented students again in an investment capacity. As SharpShooter Funding provides investment and funds to exciting homegrown business ventures, these graduates and undergraduates have precisely the sort of sharp, young and innovative minds required to build the next generation of Alberta business.

We are very excited to play a part in this and even more excited to see what the future holds for these young innovators, and for Alberta and Canada as a whole.

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