Creating Connection Through The Arts – Full Moon Story Jam

Tansi . Oki . Danit'ada . Âba Wathtec . Aaniin . Taanishi . Boozhoo . Hello!  


Here at Canada Bridges we have been busy connecting with the community to better our programming and offerings. Recently we hosted our first Story Jam of the year on April 23rd, 2024, which coincided with the Full Moon. Our intention was to honour the celestial cycles of the earth and the new beginning of seasons by gathering with the community and reigniting what Story Jams can be. A few of Canada Bridges guiding principles are Storytelling and centering youth voices. Our Story Jams are spaces where youth and community can share their voices in new and exciting ways.  


A Brief History of Where Story Jams Originated  

Story Jams were initially created as an extension of our annual event, A Youth Explosion (AYE). If you're unfamiliar with A Youth Explosion, it's an annual, collaboratively planned, youth storytelling event that centres Treaty 7 youth to share their story, through various creative expressions. AYE is a youth-led event that has previously integrated a mentorship component designed to better support the youth storytellers as they prepare to share their stories on stage. Last year we had 17 youth storytellers brave the stage, and they were supported by the BIYLT (Bridges Indigenous Youth Leadership Team), and various community mentors such as knowledge holder, Myra Goodeagle, actresses Michelle Thrush & Imajyn Cardinal, Cree artist, BB Iskwew, and Cultural Educator & adventurist, Buffalo Stone Woman. The BIYLT team supported myself,  AYE Coordinator, in the planning and execution of the entire event. The event turned out to be an incredible experience with their support. It really takes a community.  


Now that’s the brief rundown of AYE, if you would like to view the livestream link of AYE 2023, you can view it here.  


Back to Story Jams.  

Story Jams were created as a way to continue showcasing youth stories regularly after AYE. It's also space to maintain connection and build new connections to youth voices and realities within the Treaty 7 territory. They also serve as opportunities for youth to continue developing skills and leadership opportunities. In the past we have invited youth to host Story Jams. If you're interested in seeing past Story Jams that were created in collaboration with local youth, check out our Instagram and scroll down to see the events!  


The Full Moon Story Jam of April  

Two weeks ago we collaborated with The Alcove Centre for the Arts to offer our first Story Jam of the year. It was a great time spent with the community as we shared in feasting on frybread and stew, listening to live music from the local Minî Thnî band, LightRose, hearing more about Brendon Many Bears art, and even sharing some full moon trivia! Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the event. It was great to connect and share more about Story Jams! Personally, I really enjoyed a song LightRose shared about experiencing what it's like to be alone, and not really feeling a sense of belonging anywhere. The song was created to share in the comfort and experience of being human, and serves as a reminder that there is always a place of belonging for everyone. I imagine a lot of youth can resonate with the message of that song, so it was really meaningful that we created space to connect and share our own stories. Story Jams are a space where youth can share their true selves and be celebrated for all they are. They are a safe space for youth and community to connect and share through story, art, music, or however else one can imagine. That is the beauty of Story Jams, they are spaces of possibility where youth potential can be realized.  


We opened up the space to the community to share and express what they would like to see for the future of Story Jams. We find ourselves continually evolving and we want to honour the voices of youth and community. If you'd like to share your thoughts and ideas for future Story Jams, we have created a feedback form! We would love to hear and collaborate with the community to bring together collective visions for future Story Jams.  

Submit your feedback here:

The Future of Story Jams  

As we await your feedback and ideas for the future of Story Jams, we have some exciting developments for a Story Jam coming in the early summer months. The beautiful thing about Story Jams is they are open spaces awaiting the community's needs. Back in February, Canada Bridges supported the Tibetan New Year, known as Tibetan Losar. The relationship was initiated by Tenzin Topten when he reached out and asked if we could welcome in some youth powwow dancers at the Losar event. We brought in some dancers from AYE and they shared about their culture and dances in a unique and beautiful display of cross-cultural learning. We were then invited to dance and share some food as we welcomed in the Tibetan New Year with our new friends. We also possibly witnessed the very first land acknowledgement done by the Tibetan community of Calgary. The day was a beautiful start to our relationships with the Tibetan community. Since, there has been a Tibetan Youth Engagement session hosted by Canada Bridges to explore new ways of connecting.  


We are in the early stages of relationship building and planning, but we are hoping to offer a space for Indigenous communities within Treaty 7 and the Tibetan community to come together and feast, share music, art, story, and dance in celebration of shared experiences and a new budding relationship.  


Some Honourable Mentions  


The Alcove  

Bethel, our gracious host and co-founder of The Alcove shared about the importance of creating spaces where art and community are woven together. She explained that she defines the Alcove as a "creative social space where they could hang out with their friends and be free to indulge their creativity." They value accessibility and bringing together diverse people through art and creativity. A space where like minded people can connect through shared interests. If you're interested in checking out The Alcove's programming, view their upcoming program activities for May and stay tuned to upcoming calendars.  



Ûmba wathteć! We are LightRose. We’re coming to you from Minî Thnî located in Treaty 7. The group was formed in Minî Thnî in 2018. Since our beginning we’ve made great memories playing music together. After the halt during covid we found ourselves slowly merging back together after what seemed to be an eternity.  


Brendon Many Bears  

Brendon Many Bears is a Blackfoot artist from the Siksika Nation and now resides in Moh’kinstsis. Practising digital art for over 10 years, it was not until 2020 that he began his own art business under Burliest Bear. From there he went on to create artwork for Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, The Esker Foundation, Telus Spark and most recently Cousins Skateboard Community. He finds inspiration through traditional stories, cultural symbols, and history to give others a better understanding of the culture. Brendon pays homage to his Blackfoot roots through integrating his culture into his artwork to educate and engage.