BRINGING CULTURE INSIDE: ENHANCING ABORIGINAL CULTURAL IDENTITY IN A YOUTH JUSTICE FACILITY: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE INITIATIVE
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The Bringing Culture Inside (BCI) initiative at the NSYF represented a different thrust for the programming and Aboriginal world view that had been available to the incarcerated youth at the facility. The NSYF had pioneered programs in the educational field (e.g., the 24/7 program, an off-site project that provided schooling in a singular experiential fashion and included at-risk youths in the community as well as those incarcerated at the NSYF), Afrocentric initiatives especially targeting African Nova Scotian youths at the NSYF (e.g., cultural programs such as the Rites of Passage, and iMOVe focused on cognitive behavioral change). It sponsored an annual Aboriginal Day (in collaboration with MLSN) as well as monthly sweats conducted by Aboriginal elders. Youths of Aboriginal heritage could participate in 24/7 and iMOVe though the former required good standing (i.e., few serious write-ups) and the latter in its earlier years did have an Afrocentric approach. As well, of course, all NSYF youths participated in the required conventional NSYF programs such as CALM (i.e., reducing violent response), Substance Abuse and on-site schooling. BCI specifically targeted youths of Aboriginal heritage and provided them a voluntary program featuring Aboriginal perspectives, Aboriginal craft activities and mentoring one full day a week beginning in the summer of 2013 and ending in May 2015.