Norway House Cree Nation is a small indigenous reserve located in northern Manitoba, Canada. Throughout Canada, sex traffickers target indigenous children. But Norway House is fighting back.
Samantha Folster and Gilbert Fredette are community leaders who have created a program to teach kids why child sexual exploitation has traumatized their communities.
"If we're not walking the walk and talking the talk for the betterment of our community, then it's meaningless," says Fredette.
"What gives me hope is that we're talking about it," says Ron Evans, chief of Norway House Cree Nation. "There's more people aware of it, we got leadership that are aware of it, we have plans in place that are only beginning to be implemented."
School counselor Gem York says the frankness of the discussions is what makes them meaningful and effective. "[We are] naming it and saying this is what this is called, this is sexual exploitation this is human trafficking and this is what happens."
Many trafficked children come from remote First Nation communities in the north, like Norway House. Isolated and vulnerable, some families move to Canada's bigger cities in search of better schools, better jobs and greater opportunity.
Diane Redsky advocates for indigenous women and children in Canada. She says traffickers in the city target indigenous girls by posing as boyfriends.
Hundreds gathered at a community fish fry at Norway House in May. Folster spoke to the gathering about what the leadership is doing to prevent sex trafficking in the community.
Folster says that reconnecting with traditions, like this sharing circle, is key to ending the cycle of abuse.
A traditional drum ceremony at Norway House.
In the 19th century, Norway House was an important fur trading post. It was named after the Norwegian laborers who built the post.
It's home to about 6,000 people and is situated on the confluence of the Nelson River and Lake Winnipeg, about 280 miles north of Winnipeg -- about 500 miles by road.
The symbol of Norway House Cree Nation has a background of land and forest forming a peace pipe with a bear at the tip.
From left to right, the flags of Canada, Norway House Cree Nation, and the province of Manitoba.