The group of Aboriginal youth I have been working with, Building Our Legacy Together, have had a busy winter, and their activities were recently summarized in this report from coordinator Crystal Sutherland:
Invited guests were: Shawn Atleo – BC AFN, Patrick Kelly – INAC Deb Foxcroft – Vancouver Island Aboriginal Transitional Team, Harley Wylie – BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, Lorraine Calderwood-Parsons – Office for the Child and Youth, Peter Knox – Hereditary Chief, Basil Ambers – Fort Rupert Elder, Stanley Sam – Ahousaht Elder, Archie Thompson – Toquaht Elder.
One of the immediate outcomes from the Fort Rupert BOLT forum was the engagement and participation of a group of teens from the Fort Rupert reserve in a band council meeting the week following the BOLT forum.
The next steps are:
- To secure funding for the ongoing activities for 5 more forums across BC in Kamloops, Prince George, Skidegate, Chehalis and one provincial forum to follow-up.
- The BOLT Youth Executive will have a strategic planning session to determine our next steps.
- Create the BOLT for Youth Foundation to grant funds to youth designed projects in BC First Nations communities.
Many committed people worked hard to make this event a success. We would like to take this time to thank and acknowledge the supporters of the BOLT initiative:
Kleco (thank you) to the Fort Rupert Hereditary Chiefs for allowing us to meet in their Big House, Kleco to Chief and Council for donating their facilities, Kleco to the Fort Rupert Elders and singers for sharing their prayer, song and dance with the BOLT participants, to the volunteers and to the Fort Rupert community for their generous hospitality and for looking after their territory. Kleco to the Vancouver Island Youth Task Group for volunteering countless hours to design and deliver the forum, to the youth keynote speakers whose stories inspired the youth participants, to Chris Corrigan for facilitating, to leadership who listened with understanding, to Patrick Kelly for taking photographs that tell our story, to all our sponsors who made this event possible – BCAFN, INAC, VIATT, Inter-tribal health authority, sacred wolf friendship centre, Ha’sa Program, and RedWayBC. Kleco to the caterers for keeping us nourished to do this good work, to the chaperons for caring for the youth and keeping them safe and to Joan Calderhead for advising and mentoring us. Lastly, Kleco to all the young participants who took the time to share and voice the serious issues (suicide prevention, teen pregnancy, children in care, addictions, sexual abuse, decolonization etc…) that must be addressed in order to create healthier communities for future generations and the Elders who provided support, love and traditional knowledge to the youth in these heavy discussions.
On March 2nd at the Economic Opportunities Roundtable, the following supporters each donated $500.00 and put the challenge out to other Chiefs and Aboriginal Financial Institutions. The BOLT Youth Executive would like to acknowledge and thank the following contributors:
Chief Shane Gottfriedson – Kamloops Indian Band, Chief Gary Oker – Doig River First Nation, Chief Jerry Asp – Tahltan Band, Keith Matthews – Community Futureï¿½s Lawrence Lewis – Bute Inlet Development Corporation, Chief Barry Seymour – Lheidli Tenneh Band. A special acknowledgement and thanks to the BCTC for their $10,000 donation!
This whole project is youth led and youth organized. They are attracting the resources they need through invitations to work together like this one. If you would like more information about these guys, or see a way to contribute to their work, get in touch with me and I’ll hook you up.