TULITA, N.W.T. – On the edge of turning 22, Chad Bonnatrouge doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, hasn’t touched drugs, lives with his grandparents and sticks to himself. He graduated from high school in Tulita a couple of years ago and is uncertain what his next move should be. He’s got family in Vancouver and they have invited him to join them. He’s been there once and is unsure whether he wants to go back. For now he stacks firewood and fetches groceries for his grandparents.
But Tulita can be an uncomfortable place, as well. As time slips by, Bonnatrouge is gaining little work experience and no education. Graduation from Chief Albert Wright School isn’t really quite enough to prepare a student for a college course. Students from Tulita generally need one or two years of extra study at the Yellowknife-based Aurora College before they’re ready to take on vocational training. And then there’s the drinking. “Some of them use that to take away their pain, their sorrow,” said Bonnatrouge. …
He looks to the Church and Tulita’s elders for guidance. “The Lord guides us to the future and the life we need — not anything else, not all that drinking and the smoking. The Lord and the people who help us … open the door to us, to help us to have hope, a path, a family.”
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