Three Lakeland College students are at the helm of a national campaign with a mission to build a bridge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadian youth.
The Canadian Roots Exchange launched the Rural Youth Reconciliation Initiative which will train young leaders and support them in planning reconciliation activities in rural Canada. Lloydminster, which sits on Treaty 6 territory, was one of three communities across the nation to participate.
They are joined by two local youth: Eyvette Lewis and Kieran Young.
“I applied to Canadian Roots Exchange to continue making a difference in our home community. The Canadian Roots Exchange has granted the team I’m on the opportunity to do so. Five of us were chosen to participate in training in Montreal, Que., in February. During the training, we attended various workshops which included Fancy Shawl Dancing lessons, conflict resolutions, budget management, leadership skills, event planning, and how to take the initiative when it comes to reconciliation,” says Tinisha, an Indigenous person whose band is from Pas, Man.
Once they completed the training, the youth leaders were tasked to utilize what they learned to create a community action plan and organize a public event. Hauberg, who is of Ukrainian and Norwegian descent, says their first event, The Canadian Indigenous Exhibit, was held at the Micro Hotel in Lloydminster at the end of March.
“We had important people come and showcase their first-hand knowledge, and our team shared what we’ve learned and know. Admission was free but we accepted non-perishable food donations to give back to Lakeland College’s student food bank,” says Tinisha.
Hauberg adds, “We wanted to showcase Indigenous history and culture such as beadwork, the fur trade, language, residential school and more. We're also adjusting the stereotypes and having conversations that I think Lloydminster needs to share. It is important to learn about different circumstances by learning about everybody’s experiences and understanding that everyone comes from different walks of life.”
As a non-Indigenous person, Hauberg says the training in Montreal was an excellent opportunity to be exposed to Indigenous culture, as well as meet with other Canadian youth who want to see change.
“I've never been exposed to Indigenous culture before, so that was awesome. I enjoyed how the elders were always there and eager to talk about their experiences. We watched smudging ceremonies and talked a lot about residential schools – a few of them were survivors,” Hauberg recalls.
You can read more about the Rural Youth Reconciliation Leaders of Lloydminster at the Canadian Roots’ website
, as well as learn more about their reconciliation efforts.
Photo: Kieran Young, Taylor Hauberg, Rabina Hatitchki and Tinisha Kchina Young at their first public event with the Rural Youth Reconciliation Initiative.