We are very excited to partner with Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) and Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) to host an all-day gathering for any individuals or organizations that mentor Indigenous youth on Thursday, January 30th, 2020 from 9am - 4pm. The goal of the day is to come together to discuss and share learnings from our Indigenous mentorship programs across Mohkinstsis and hear directly from the wisdom of Elders and youth.
Click here to register on Eventbrite.
The organizing committee is led by Jacie Alook from Native Counselling Services of Alberta, Russ Baker of Canada Bridges, and Levi First Charger of USAY. There will be Elders representing each of the Treaty 7 nations to share their perspectives on mentorship as well as many Indigenous youth who are participants of various mentorship programs across Mohkinstsis.
There are many things that inspired the group to create this gathering. For Jacie, she felt that “it was important to come together like this because mentorship, in all its forms, is invaluable from an individual and family level, to the social fabric of society.” Russ agreed, adding, “I think people have been asking for this kind of gathering for a while now.” Russ also noted that “I really hope that we can come together and not just talk about what is working well but also be honest about what is not working in our programs.”
Inspiration from this event also came from a recent Elder’s Grassroots Gathering, hosted by the Calgary Indigenous Sharing Network (CISN). At the event, Elders and youth were asked: “How do you see moving traditions into today?” Many responses were captured that inspired them to host this event- here are a few:
“Elders teaching youth respect, manners, gender roles and traditional ways…to teach identity and culture”
“Together, as families, as parents, everyone had a role.” ”[Elders]..must teach our youth how powerful they are!”
“Learning the language so that they (youth) feel connections to their spiritual ancestors and their own self”.
When asked about the naming of the event, Jacie shared that ‘Enhancing Parallel Learning’ to her “means supporting a reciprocal learning, that is moving forward together. Many Indigenous people have a universal understanding of reciprocity which is grounded in respect. Respect for differing perspectives and experiences, and of the gifts each living being carries.”
As for the overall goals for the day, Jacie shared that they hope “to highlight and honour the local voices and vision of Elders and youth of Treaty 7, including Indigenous youth that have transitioned here. This learning day has the potential to bring together narratives and experiences of youth, with Elders that hold the wisdom and knowledge of what is embedded in the land of Treaty 7. Thinking bigger picture, this learning day can continue the revitalization of Indigenous lifeways, language, unity across Turtle island- ultimately, sharing from geographical areas across the planet.”
“We also hope that the day will empower Indigenous youth to use their voice in the revitalization of Indigenous culture, and to bring light to Indigenous realities, to shift the current narrative. The momentum can continue through creating safe spaces for showcasing mentorship, especially with Elders and youth.”
When I asked Russ why this day was important, he replied, “Everything Indigenous people do is governed by western institutions. This day is a chance to develop our understandings about Indigenous mentorship in Calgary so that we can become more governed by Indigenous people and Indigenous teachings.”
With the event 2 weeks away, Russ said that “the response has been great so far and we are looking forward to a full house. We want to have every youth focused agency that is doing Indigenous mentorship to attend so we can learn from our Elders and create stronger connections between us so we can work together to serve our Indigenous youth.”
If you would like to attend, please contact Russ (email@example.com), or Jacie (Jaciefirstname.lastname@example.org) to get yourself on the invite list!
Do you or your organization have experience mentoring Indigenous youth?
Do you want to explore the connection between Elders and youth?
Are you willing to share your learning and hear what others have learned?
Join us on Jan 30!