Youth speaks out against bullying with winning image

Thirteen-year-old Memekew Apetawakeesic-Morriseau is an aspiring artist who wants to share a powerful message about bullying. 

Reflecting on difficult experiences that have happened in her own life and her community of North Caribou Lake First Nation, Apetawakeesic-Morriseau drew the winning image for Tikinagan Child and Family Service’s “Red Alert! Bullying Hurts!” campaign.

The image captures a simple message about bullying: it hurts.

“Bullying has to be prevented because some children will take drastic measures to make the pain stop,” says Apetawakeesic-Morriseau. “I want the bullies to know that they’re severely hurting people, and they’re making them feel like crap.”

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Apetawakeesic-Morriseau’s image, which pictures a young girl sitting knees-to-chest, surrounded by towering figures shouting negative statements, says the drawing depicts herself as a child and her own experiences with bullying.

“When I was about three or four, I was living in Fort Albany and these three girls came at me and said they’ll cut me. I was on the ground and that’s where the towering figures came from.

“It was from one of my worst bullying experience. That’s what helped me create the image.”

But bullying isn’t just a one-time occurrence for children and youth. Apetawakeesic-Morriseau shared another bullying experience that fuelled her creative process.

“I was hanging out with one of my friends we were swimming and then this older girl who was bullying me, she came and then she started taking my stuff away, started yelling at me [asking] me why are you crying?”

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North Caribou First Nation Youth Advocate Band Councillor, Carlena Petawaick; Apetawakeesic-Morriseau; and OPP Constable Chris Lockwood.


Apetawakeesic-Morriseau hopes her image will help other children and youth going through bullying know that they are not alone and help is available. She encourages anyone who is experiencing or has experienced bullying or cyberbullying to avoid giving in to the bully.

“Just try walking away. There is a point in life where you will just have to not fight back.”

For her positive message against bullying, Apetawakeesic-Morriseau is recognized by Tikinagan Child and Family Services as being a difference-maker in the lives of her peers across the north. It further demonstrates that even youth are an important part in supporting Tikinagan’s service model Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin, which means “Everyone working together to raise our children.”

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The campaign’s slogan, “Red Alert! Bullying Hurts,” was created by Joni Trout from Lac Seul First Nation. It was selected by a panel of First Nation youth, who judged more than 130 entries. 

For supports on bullying in your community, children and youth can speak with your Parents, your local Tikinagan workers, NAN community Well-Being workers, Nodin Mental Health Services, NAPS, OPP, Teachers, and Principals at your school about some of the bullying or issues you may be experiencing.

You can also call the NAN Hope Line @ 1-844-NAN-HOPE or the Kids Help Line @ 1-800-668-6868 to speak with a professional counsellor. 

For more information on Tikinagan’s “Red Alert! Bullying Hurts” campaign, visit tikinagan.org

To read more First Nation difference-makers for families and our communities, follow our stories using the hashtag #FNdifferencemakers on Facebook, Instagram, and at tikinagan.org.