The Enhancing Parallel Learning Conference took place back in January of 2020, hosted by Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, and Canada Bridges along with honorary invited organizations. The conversation around the topics shared at this event was deep and meaningful; Indigenous perspectives and mentoring - from the speakers to the audience, everyone was a part of the conversation. Each topic had a very deep thought, you would be thinking about it for a long while after the event was over.
As for me, it sure left a conversation within my inner self, how can I respond to the western world in a more meaningful and impactful way with my culture and traditions. My late elders would always encourage me to respond with respect and clarity. To ensure that the topics shared won’t finish in confusion but with a step forward to better relationships and build new bridges or to repair old ones.
The youth and elders spoke very strongly on the questions they’ve been asked. Each response was different and unique, the diversity in traditional mentoring gave the audience a broad idea of how the nations mentored their youth. Coming from Stoney Nakoda, I have always wondered about my neighbouring nations' ways of growing and mentoring. Through the Enhancing Parallel Learning conference, my wonders have been answered by the very respectful Elders brought out that day.
As for the youth, we come to a new age of living, different times from our elders, but with the sacred teachings and guidance it applies to all generations as it did for those who raised us. Western governance has interfered with the Indigenous way of life. For generations those teachings were heavily suppressed, to silence the voices they took all measures to keep oppression active but not anymore. With each gathering such as this one we revitalize those sacred tongues, and it was very well achieved at this event. To see allies take steps forward in learning and bridging the gaps from their side I highly have my hopes set on another Enhancing Parallel Learning event to continue and contribute to Indigenous conversations and expanding that circle to many people.
I would like to thank all the organizers for such an amazing event and to the elders, youth, and audience for making the circle feel comfortable enough to share. Thank you also to Alex at IndiCity and Dwight at Antyx for making the video. Ishniyes.