Don't Say Marmalade When you Mean Jam

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Producing Marmalade or Jam A recipe for preventing AIDS was "like beading called fancy work in the North West Territories," said Lona Hegeman.

"Getting the women together was easy," said the North West Territories community health worker. "We share a passion for issues around health and women's wisdom. Most of us are not used to producing booklets, but we took the risk and did it anyhow."

Hegeman along with Vera Morin, a Metis Grandmother, Traditional Knowledge Resource and Workshop Planner, Bea Morin, Metis Elder and Great Grandmother (Vera's mother), Maggie Mercredi, Dene Woman and Reproductive Health Consultant, and Annie Norbert, G'wichin Elder and Grandmother (Hegeman's Mother-in-law), took "traditional knowledge and current knowledge and wove them together into a story."

"From our two expert beaders [the elders] we knew that decorative work is important," said Hegeman, "that's why we spent lots of time on the pictures and on the design."

The beautifully designed booklet pictures women talking about safe sex and how to broach poorly understood (and sometimes taboo) topics. It is full of women's wisdom, humour and favourite recipes for bannock and jam, and ends with an exercise for finding simple definitions (Jam Words) for medical jargon and dominant culture phrases (Marmalade words).

With the goal of educating elders about safer sex by looking at the barriers to this discussion (reference is made to residential schools), the booklet was created on the belief that elders are a resource to be invested in, and that there is little HIV/AIDS training for elders.

Elders have a special bond with youth. Troubled youngsters are often at odds with parents and other caregivers. During this difficult time, the bond of love and trust with elders may remain intact and their involvement may help convey an HIV prevention message at a time of high-risk for the youngster.

Inviting elders to become co-educators of youth on the risks of HIV provides a non-threatening means of promoting knowledge about safe sex practices and may keep our elders safe from harm.

To order Marmalade or Jam a recipe for understanding AIDS, contact (free):

Lona Hegeman
Health and Social Services
Government of the NWT
Box 1320
Yellowknife NT X1A 2L9 Canada
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0782
E-mail: lona_hegeman@gov.nt.ca