Pimicikamak graduate goes home to help, inspire youth

Lisa Muswagon, a mother of three, graduated from Otter Nelson River High School in 1999. She is home this weekend to check in on the youth and see what they need to get through the suicide crisis.

Lisa Muswagon is organizing an event in Pimicikamak on Saturday to support youth in the community

Kendall Robinson (left) invited Karmen Omeasoo (also known as Hellnback), Tamara Muswagon and Lisa Muswagon to Pimicikamak to meet with youth on Saturday night. (Facebook)

A mother of three who graduated from Otter Nelson River High School in 1999 is returning to Manitoba's Pimicikamak with her husband and sister to support the community's youth during a suicide crisis.

"We are just hoping to help share the voice of our young people and see what they want," said Lisa Muswagon. 

Lisa Muswagon and Karmen Omeasoo are hosting a youth event in Pimicikamak this weekend to support the youth as they deal with the suicide crisis. (Doug Thomas)
Muswagon said she too has been affected by the crisis — her cousin buried his daughter last weekend.

She returned this weekend at the request of the Pimicikamak youth council.

"We want to have some live talent performances from some local youth," she said. "Kanikanichihk donated some equipment and some stuff so we have some prizes to encourage our young people to speak."

Muswagon owns Native Model Studios in Winnipeg and her husband is hip hop artist Hellnback, who will perform for the kids this weekend.

"Our goal is not to tell the kids how to live," said Karmen Omeasoo. "We are up here just to talk and open up that dialogue for the youth, possibly getting people laughing and smiling and doing some activities and just having a good time."

Omeasoo is from the Samson Cree Nation in Alberta, which has also experienced a suicide crisis. 

He said his mother is on band council and the suicide rates have dropped, and he is taking what he learned from how Samson Cree dealt with the crisis to Pimicikamak.

"They wanted to hear the youth speak more, they wanted to hear where the problem was coming from rather than trying to figure it out and push other people's beliefs down other people's throats," he said.

A group from Winnipeg is setting up the Otter Nelson River High School for a youth gathering. (Lisa Muswagon)
Muswagon also brought her sister, Tamara Muswagon, with her. She said they wants to instill pride in the youth and give back.

"Our community supported us through our education, achievements, endeavours," she said.

Muswagon said with the support of her community, she earned her CGA (Certified General Accountant)  and is working toward her CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant). She said her sister, Tamara, went to Red River College and is an employment counselor at The Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development Inc.

"We've always been out there telling [people] how great our community is. We wanted to have that same pride again and have the youth feel proud of where they come from rather than them think [it] was a difficult place to live."

Muswagon said they will be in the community until Monday and plan to return at the end of the month for a youth gathering that is being planned by the youth council.