You are helping to reduce the Indigenous drowning rate in Saskatchewan

Topics: Saskatchewan
April 11, 2019

water safetyIf you are Indigenous, you are 10 times more likely to drown than anyone else in Canada.

That’s why the Canadian Red Cross in Saskatchewan started the Indigenous Water Safety program in 2016. The program teaches kids and adults how to swim and supports Indigenous communities as they build their number of lifeguards and swimming instructors. The long-term goal is for these communities to run their own swimming program.

Since the start of the program, Flying Dust First Nation and Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation have been very active in the program seeking to increase their community’s safety around the water. In fact, during the summer of 2018, eight youth aged 12-18 from these communities became certified Assistant Lifeguards.

“Becoming an Assistant Lifeguard is the first step of training more water safety experts in a community,” said Lesley Anne Morley, Coordinator for the Indigenous Water Safety program for the Red Cross. “These kids are now on a path to become lifeguards or instructors.”

Training like this is the key to reducing drowning, especially in areas where the risks are higher. In many communities homes are often located close to rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, and people travel by boat as part of their daily life.

“As an added bonus we’ve seen younger kids watching their siblings and cousins get this training and they’re saying ‘I want to be a lifeguard like them.’ Which is really exciting to see,” expressed Morley.
Funding from generous partners like you are helping more kids learn to swim and become lifeguards in Indigenous communities across the province.
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