Today Jane Morley, the Child and Youth Officer for British Columbia, and the convener of that gathering released her special report on the summit and its results. The report is available as a .pdf from her site.
The gathering was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. On May 4th 2005 I saw nearly 200 Aboriginal youth step into a gathering rife with fear and trepidation and emerge engaged and powerful. They achieved this by simply turning to one another with a set of powerful questions about what might be in their communities and after some conversation, they delivered an inspired set of messages to policy makers and politicians.
In her report, Jane summaraizes the transformation of the day this way:
By the end of the inter-nation forum, it seemed that a shift had taken place – from the overwhelming sense of loss, alienation and fear people had felt in the face of youth suicide, to youth beginning to take the lead in finding a solution. THe energy and power of the youth were palpable, as was the willingness among the others present to hear and accepttheir views, the mutual respect and the support for the emergence of youth voices and youth leadership.
The inter-nation forum, the work that preceeded it and the subsequent results were the fruit of hard work by many people, but first among these were the youth themselves. It was such an honour to work with them. I hope the governments involved heed Jane’s report.