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Newsletter Masthead 1920 - Spring 2022 E
Table of Contents

Please select from the headings below to read articles in any section,
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To the Malsgm Sa'winsk

Welcome Message

Greetings Subscribers!

Welcome to the SPRING 2022 edition of the Malsgm Sa'winsk!  We are excited to bring you fresh and engaging content as we venture into the season of renewal and growth!


We hope you enjoyed our winter edition of the Malsgm Sa'winsk. This season's newsletter brings you news of fun events, Lighthouse updates, an inspiring health and weight management story, and much more from NIFCS and the communities.  Don't forget to check out the Fun'tastic Activities section to win a $100 gift card and discover the sweet secret to make candies from our Relishous Recipes segment. Awesome book reviews and much more await you in this edition of our newsletter.

We would love to hear any ideas for stories, community events and other newsworthy activities that you may wish to share. 

Please click HERE to send us your stories, suggestions and feedback.

Wishing you a wonderful Spring Season filled with hope, renewal and growth!


The Editorial Team

Community Spotlight

Community Spotlight

Kitsumkalum Annual Ski/Board Club

Ama sah!


This year was a bit different for Kitsumkalum’s annual Ski/Board Club. This time we had an additional group for younger kids, below the age of 12! Typically, this event has been for those aged 12 - 21. We also opened up the club to our neighbouring communities in Terrace and Kitselas and what a turn out it was!


A big thank you to our volunteer chaperones from the community! Our chaperone team was able to spend a lot of one on one time with each kid and be there to encourage – guide – and to just be a companion on the slopes. These kids amazed me from day one as they exceeded their goals and made new records for themselves! One teenager was impressed with her ability to go off ski jumps, another was a natural on the board and impressed his snowboard instructor, another was non-stop with the magic carpet and testing his abilities each time to turn and stop. I am so impressed with the group and so looking forward to next year's event ❤


T’oyaxsut nuusm to our sponsor: iSPARC (Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council) and NIFCS (Northwest Inter-Nation Family and Community Services Society). Thank you all for funding the community, volunteer chaperones, and parents to join in on all the fun! (and some good lunches).


Lukwil n’toyaxsn ada lukwil ayaaltganm (thank you so much, we are all so fortunate). Enjoy the pictures below from our trip to Shames Mountain.

Report by Emily Bryant

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Children Visit Kitsumkalum Lighthouse

Ama sah!


A group of children from the Kitsumkalum school were curious about the Lighthouse, so we opened our doors during their lunch hour and had them here for half hour. They toured the building and painted some pictures with the watercolors from Beam Paints (an indigenous company located on Manitoulin Island)! Some students made jokes about wanting to live here! The log house structure and warm lighting is so welcoming. And now that couches are downstairs it feels very homey 😊 they are eager to come back and be a part of the Lighthouse activities in the future. They left us with loving, creative souvenirs of their visit (see below). 


Report by Emily Bryant

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Staff Spotlight

NIFCS Staff Spotlight

Doug Kroeker
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Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick:​

My name is Doug Kroeker, I am married and have 4 children.


What is your role at NIFCS?

My role at NIFCS is as resource worker which means that I recruit caregivers for children and support them as they provide care.  What that really means is that I sit down with people over coffee and listen to their story and see how they can provide care for children.  To me it is the most important job in the world.  Foster parents and respite providers and families that come forward to care for kids are the most incredible people I know and it is an honor to work with them.

What was your very first job (In general)?

That would have been helping my father build houses.   As early as 5 I remember helping him-not sure how much help I was back then- but that is the earliest I can remember.  One of my first jobs was painting a foundation with tar so that it would be waterproof when they backfilled.  That was a lot of fun and there was tar everywhere, mostly on me.


Describe how and when you came to NIFCS?

I was super curious about NIFCS and I just had to check it out.  I kept phoning them and finally they said “you need to come in here for a conversation” and that was it.  I got hired.

What is your favorite Dinosaur?

Any kind, as long as they are dead!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I have a few.  People driving way under the speed limit.  Covid.  Declining fish stocks. 

Most memorable moment from 2021?

June 26 running 20 km to support the Tears to Hope Relay from Kasiks toward Terrace.   I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

What is your favorite chocolate bar?

Most of them-a definite weakness for me.  Mars Bar if you really need to know.  Eatmore, snickers……

Do you have a favorite song?

No but the music from the 1960s and 70s is awesome.

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

I would buy running shoes because I love to run and I would like to add to my collection of 18 pairs!  Most of those are old and used up but its hard to throw them out as I have about 1000 kilometers of memories from each pair!

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

Yes.  You can do this!  Stay in school.  Post secondary can be challenging but if I got through it, you can too.  We need your help and your skills in this job.  You  are perfect for it.  I won’t be here forever so come on over.

Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?

I like cats if someone else owns them.  Definitely a dog person.  I became a bird person and we have an adorable budgie. I like other birds like grouse because they taste good but I am not sure if that is what you meant!


If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

Fish-Halibut and Spring.  Also I would never say no to a medium rare roast beef dinner.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

My wife.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

Today.  I came to the office, everyone greeted each other, we sang and prayed together to start the day, and someone made a joke and we all laughed!  We have lots of perfect days here.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Family, health, colleagues, that I wake up every morning and have to opportunity to pursue my dreams and take risks.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

Oh that one is easy.  I would like the ability to cause every child that comes to NIFCS to have the most wonderful life and home that could ever be.   If I could I would take children and youth canoeing and camping and fishing and hunting instead of sitting in school all day.

What is your most treasured memory?  

When she said yes!

Linda Leighton
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Please introduce yourself, traditional or non, you pick.

My name is Linda Leighton and I am from Metlakatla BC.I belong to the Gitwilgyots Tribe. My Crest is Gispwudwada.


What is your role at NIFCS?

My role at NIFCS is A Resource Social Worker. I have been in this job for 15 Years now and loved every minute been employed here. I absolutely consider everyone here my second family. In the fifteen years here, I have seen many people come and go and even some losses. I have a lot of great memories with NIFCS and will cherish them all.

What was your very first job (In general)?

I grew up on an isolated reserve called Metlakatla BC. I left there as a teenager and my first job was in a café called “The Melrose Café”…ancient 😊. I have had several jobs throughout my life. I even moved to Vancouver and went to a private school for a year and completed dress making and design. I moved back to Prince Rupert at age 26 and worked in the cannery for 2 months and then found a job at Rupert Cleaners where I remained for 28 years. I always wanted to go back to school and in 1999 an opportunity came up at the Native Education Centre which allowed me to quit my job and attend school for the next 7-8 years. In the end I graduated from the University of The Fraser Valley with a Social Work Degree in 2006.

In 2007 January I was hired at NIFCS and here I am 😊

What is your favorite Dinosaur?

I have no clue 😊😊!


What is your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when someone decides to look in the mirror one last time while I am outside waiting in my car.


Most memorable moment from 2021?

My most memorable moment for 2021 was seeing my friend in the back alley as she was going to show off her new truck…we chatted and I stated  “:awe I wish I could give you a hug”…she put out her arms and said you can… little did I know I would never see her again…that will always be with me.

What is your favorite chocolate bar?

My favorite chocolate bar is a Mars Bar…but if I was hard up its any kind of chocolate 😊

Do you have a favorite song?

Yes my favorite song is called “When did you stop loving me” by George Strait. I paid 998.00 to see him in Las Vegas and he never even sang the song ☹

If you had an extra $200 to spend on anything, what would you buy?

If I had 200.00 to spend on anything… I would actually spend it all on “Tye dye shirts”😊

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer youth who may be considering your profession?

I would say that if you are considering this….It will be very very rewarding!

Are you a cat, dog, or bird person?


If you could pick your birthday dinner, what would you chose?

My choice would be Dry Garlic Ribs and rice topped off with a coke 😊

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

A perfect day for me would be to complete my Meditation, Qigong face and head massage, 10 minute body tapping and my 15 thousand steps by the end of day….BUT that does not always happen…that’s what would be my perfect day 😊

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I am most grateful for my family.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

If I could wake up tomorrow having gained one ability it would be to Knit anything!

What is your most treasured memory?  

I have a lot of treasured memories with family, friends, and co-workers so too many to count but all treasured.

Culture & History


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Wisdom from our Elders

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Victoria Reece from Lax Kw'alaams

Victoria was kind enough to share an engaging story and her wisdom with the reader. Kindly click on the link below to listen to the audio recording of the interview facilitated by Sharon Bryant 

Victoria Reece
00:00 / 13:37
FunTastic Activities




Enjoy crossword puzzles?

Our puzzle specialist Ocean Georgelin has created

a new puzzle in Sm’algyax for the

spring edition of our newsletter!​

Are you up for a challenge?

Click below for this fun and delightful puzzle.



There is a SECRET WORD

concealed within this newsletter.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it,

is to put on your Sherlock hat and find it!


In the box below you will find pointers & clues:

(pointers tell you where to go; clues tell you where to find each letter)

There are only 3 letters in the Secret Word.

When you combine them according to the

sequence below, you will uncover the Secret Word.


Submit your Secret Word and enter the

$100 Gift Card Draw!

THREE winners will be drawn from the pool of correct submissions. E-mail your answer to:  by April 30, 2022




01. Pointer -> Right Here! Clue: The 5th letter in the title of this section of the newsletter.

02. Pointer -> Staff Spotlight! Clue: Fourth letter in the name of the tribe that Linda Leighton belongs to.

03. Pointer -> Wisdom! Clue: This letter repeats 3 times in the name of the elder from Lax Kw'alaams.







Relishous Recipes



by Mary Ryan


  • 5 cups sugar

  • 2 1/2 c cold water

  • Cup full of vinegar


- Stir until dissolved 

- Once dissolved 

- Turn heat on high 

- Then high until full boil 

- No stirring otherwise it will turn to sugar 

- Let it cook til the bubbles come together 

- Test spoonful into cold cup of water 

- Lather butter on cookie sheet and sprinkle. Flour lightly and spread it like preparing for cake 

- Pour candy onto prepared cookie sheet 

Let cool


Once able to handle, put butter and flour or icing sugar on your hands and pull together from all sides


When able to handle, pull and turn and keep pulling until turning hard then pull out and stretch out onto table and cut

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Youth learning about candy making from their elders

Over the Horizon



We have exciting news, this time from Haisla Nation, as both the new Youth Centre being constructed by the community and the Lighthouse being built by NIFCS are progressing rapidly. Here is a recent photo and a brief video of the construction site for both buildings filmed in February of this year.

Construction is expected to be completed in summer of 2022.

Health & Wellness


Weight is My Only Loss

by Rachel Hewer

Last year, I lost some very important people, and it was hard.  What was even harder, was seeing how those losses affected my children.  I knew that if I continued the way I was, my health would never improve, and I didn’t want to become one of the losses my children would have to endure.  Some of my health challenges at my heaviest were that I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my legs, hips, and back were constantly in pain, and it didn’t seem to matter what I ate, I had so many digestion issues.  I couldn’t walk very far without taking a break and having to use my inhaler.  And the worst of it was, I couldn’t do all the activities that my children wanted to do, so I spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching them have fun without me.  


A friend of mine shared that she was starting a Biggest Winner challenge in March of 2021.  Hoping for some extra motivation, I signed myself up.  This group was different than other Biggest Loser groups I previously joined.  Although this challenge was online, I felt supported from the organizers, they had healthy challenges and weekly check-ins.  The organizers and other participants encouraged me to make positive choices with food and exercise that would soon become my healthy habits.  


When I started walking to work, I would only commit to walking one direction.  I swear every time you hear someone comment about how they “used to have to walk uphill both ways in a torrential downpour” they were all from Prince Rupert… because I still have to do that.  Sometimes those hills felt like I was climbing Mt. Everest (not that I’d know what that feels like).  If I wasn’t in the right mindset, I would get a ride to the tennis court in the morning and walk the rest of the way, or I’d get picked up at the skatepark on my way home.  Some days were harder than others, but I knew that I could do it, because I did it already, all I had to do was go one step further than yesterday.  


It was the small victories that kept me going.  In the beginning, I was really happy when I was able to walk a couple more steps up the hill than yesterday, before resting or using my inhaler.  The first time I did the big loop (which is around 10,000 steps), by the time I reached my front door, I had to seek motivation from my son.  Naturally, he decided to play the Rocky theme song as I made my way up that final hurdle of about 15 stairs.  His confidence in me and his daily encouragement was all I needed to continue.  For several months, I would walk 20,000 steps a day to help aid in my weight loss.


As you all know, exercise is only half the battle, in addition to adding exercise to my life, I had to conquer my daily food habits.  Eating seconds or thirds was common; fried food and take out were regulars in my diet.  This was a challenge that I knew would make a huge difference in my end goal, so I deliberately chose to change in baby steps.  I started to only drink water, no more sugary fizzy drinks; I like water, so that wasn’t too bad.  I cut down to once a week take out.  That wasn’t so hard either, well for me, if you ask my children, they might tell you otherwise. I didn’t initially restrict myself from any foods.  I started to eat smaller portions of the same foods I’ve always loved.  That was all going well, but my stomach issues still presented some challenges.  I started tracking my food using an app (and using a scale to measure my food).  Through the process of elimination, I was able to determine the foods that upset my stomach.  Turns out when I did that, I had so much more energy and I started to feel much better. 


Although I have lost a lot of numbers on the scale, I have gained so much more.  With support from my family, friends, and co-workers, I have made significant changes to my lifestyle, made a lot of progress, and have neared my goals.  I still have some goals to meet, and I will achieve them.  I feel better, my diabetes is in remission, I no longer take medication (I can’t remember the last time I used my inhaler) and those hills that used to look like mountains, are no match for me.  Although I am not as strict with the foods I eat or the amount of exercise I do, I still walk anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 steps a day.  As far as food goes, I still use a scale to weigh a lot of my food, and it is rare that I will have carbs or fried foods, but I do indulge in the occasional treat.  When I do have treats, I just make sure that my calorie intake is less than the calories I can exercise away.


Living healthier is a very personal journey and what works for me may not work for you.  I used a couple apps to help with keeping me on track “My Fitness Pal”, “Fitbit” and “BodyShot”.  I also kept regular appointments with my doctor to make sure I was making healthy choices and not doing anything to harm myself.  I encourage anyone who is on their own journey to reach out to their supports.  There are good days and bad days, don’t let the bad days discourage you from continuing.



As some of you know, I am not generally a shy person and have been open about my weight loss.  However, when I was asked to share my journey for the newsletter, I was torn about this because I am not a weight loss expert, and I don’t want anyone to think that I feel like I have any authority on this matter.  I decided to share my story not to be boastful, rather to see if my story might help motivate someone to start their own journey or encourage them to continue one they already started.

I have been overweight my entire adult life.  I have tried fad diets, have had sporadic bursts of exercise, and I have always had great excuses to not change my lifestyle.  Car accidents, chronic pain, busy schedule, children, life, etcetera, etcetera, you name it, I found excuses to stop eating healthier and to stop exercising.

Ideas & Suggestions




The success of a community is dependent on the success of each of its members.

Your ideas and suggestions are an important part for the betterment of community life.


We invite you to share your thoughts on

how we can improve the lives of community members as well as the services provided by NIFCS. Please click the link below to visit the AMA SIG̱OOTG (GOOD IDEAS) page to submit your proposal. While there, you can can also learn about the reward and recognition program for ideas that are successfully implemented.

Reader's Corner



Woman Reading
Girl Reading on Bed

Welcome once again to Reader’s Corner.  As a reminder, each season we will be highlighting books (of different genres, staff picks, community recommended books, etc) that are written by Indigenous Authors.  Please feel free to share any “must reads” or send in your own personal book review so that others can also enjoy that book.

Book Titles: “Fatty Legs: A True Story” and “When I was Eight”

Authors: Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton

Reviewed by: Rachel Hewer

Christy Jordan-Fenton and her Mother-In-Law, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, co-authored “Fatty Legs” as well as “When I Was Eight”.  These books were drawn to me as they are the same story but written for different age groups.  “Fatty Legs” is an easily read book for young readers and is recommended for children and youth in grades four to eight.  While “When I Was Eight” is a children’s book and is recommended for children aged six to nine.  The books are based on the true story about Margaret’s experience with residential school.  Margaret, who’s born name is Olemaun Pokiak, is Inuvialuit from the Northwest Territories.  Olemaun had with a strong desire to learn to read and to attend school like her big sister Rosie.  This book shares some of the challenges that Margaret faced while she attended school.  While Margaret faces hurt and struggles at school with both her peers as well as with “The Raven”, Margaret remains strong and resilient. 


If you enjoy these books, there are two books that follow Olemaun after she returns home from residential school.  The books are called “A Stranger at Home:  A True Story” (a follow-up to “Fatty Legs”) and “Not My Girl” (a follow-up to “When I Was Eight”).


I really enjoyed these books and feel like they would be a great method for giving younger children and youth an introduction to the history of residential schools and the impact that residential schools have had on people who attended, as well as for their families. 


If you are interested to learn more about Olemaun and her daughter-in-law, Christy, you can view the video below. The video underneath this is from a musical based on the book "Fatty Legs".

Author Katherena Vermette

Messages for You




Dear Reader, 

We hope you enjoyed our spring edition of Malsgm Sa'winsk. We continue to be encouraged by the positive response that we have received from you. Thank you!

With your support and readership we hope to keep providing you with a newsletter that provides meaningful content in an engaging way. As always, we welcome any ideas and suggestions that you may have to help us continuously improve the quality and content of the Malsgm Sa'winsk

The contributors for this Spring Edition of the newsletter are:

  • Emily Bryant

  • Victoria Reece

  • Rachel Hewer

  • Sharon Bryant

  • Doug Kroeker

  • Linda Leighton

Our sincere appreciation to all contributors for providing content that engages the reader's heart, mind, and spirit. We would like to also thank our readers, for subscribing to the newsletter (if you have not done so, please click HERE to subscribe) and for supporting this publication. Please share it with your family and friends. We have exciting content in the works for the next edition, with more fun contests, awesome giveaways and useful information! 

With that, we would like to wish you a wonderful spring season. Enjoy precious time with family, friends and community. Stay safe!  

The Editorial Team

Rachel Hewer - Sharon Bryant - Mamie Lawson - Kathy C. Wesley - Armaan Ratra -

Sean Segran 

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