Cuts put Aborignal youth at risk, says youth worker
More native youth centres in Alberta are speaking out against cuts to their funding.
The federal government recently pulled $11 million from youth programs at native friendship centres across the country in an effort to focus on job training instead of culture and healthy lifestyles.
Every year the Lac La Biche Friendship Centre helps 40 youth make positive choices in their lives, said coordinator Donna Webster.
"And supported by positive role models that are aboriginal," she said. "And (now) they're told again, 'You don't matter. There's no money so we have to close the doors, you have to go home."
Cheyenne Gamblin, 17, said she depended on the centre to learn about her Metis culture and would be lost without it
"I wouldn't be graduating," she said. "I would probably living at home with my mother still, not knowing what I'm going to do."
Cheyenne Gamblin said she worries about the next generation.
"Who's going to teach them to show respect and about their own culture? It makes me feel so, so sad."
Funding for the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth was recently transferred from Heritage Canada to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development where it will be used for employment training.
The centre has no other sources of funding to keep it going, Webster said.
With files from Niall McKenna