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Tuesday August 28, 2012

Grassy Narrows First Nation- The launch of a two day Youth Empowerment Gathering geared towards creating an active network of strong future leaders within First Nations communities will be held in Grassy Narrows First Nation Wednesday August 29 – 30.

The Gathering organized on no budget by Active Grassroots Young People from communities with a background of standing up to injustices that have made positive changes are uniting to create a new way of representing themselves to tackle the many issues First Nations face regularly.

“I feel this gathering is special because it is being organized by young grassroots people who are just overcoming a negative lifestyle. We came together to plan this Gathering for Youth to show them what we have learned and seen when finding our spirit!” explains Jessica Swain from Grassy Narrows who is one of the Events Organizers.

“Most Youth Gatherings are organized outside of the community which not all youth get to attend because a lack of funds and the ones that do get to go are selected and who are already involved or motivated in positive atmospheres. This Gathering is being held in the community because it actually targets youth that really need to be exposed to that positive atmosphere and who most times are forgotten.” says Swain.

Young community members of Grassy Narrows which currently has Canada’s longest standing Blockade to prevent logging on their Traditional Territory have been working with two young Anishinabek men from Southern Ontario who are currently repossessing their Traditional Territories in a Provincial Park opting out of their communities Land Claim Settlement.

“We are trying to rebuild our Nation going into our communities to find traditional alternatives of representing ourselves and asserting our Sovereignty for these modern times. Our voices at the grassroots community level especially the youth are not being heard. Most times well paid facilitators come into our communities to inspire us but only give us false hope and then leave our communities. This gathering is different from the many other because we are the people we are speaking to and are of our own communities. We are creating a ongoing united network where we will not leave our communities but help each other grow.” explains Johnny Hawke of Chimnissing Anishinabek Territory who is also one of the Events Organizers.

The Gathering will provide various workshops that include Colonization, Re-estblishing Traditional Governance, The Aboriginal Industry, Food Sovereignty, Ice Breakers, Traditional Teachings and Prophecies. The Event Organizers say they did this as community members trying to access help from community organizations where they felt frustrated and helpless which only exemplifies the need of such a gathering.

“It was a struggle to try and get financial support from our own community programs and leadership but we are so determined to have this gathering that we are going forward with it. We managed to get a little bit of funds by charging a fee to different treaty 3 organizations to come and set up information booths about their programs they can offer Youth. We borrowed a fish net and will be setting it so we can hopefully have a fish fry. This determination hopefully shows by example the real issues we face and how together we can inspire and empower the youth.” explains Swain.

For More Info Contact:

Jessica Swain

Richard Peters

Johnny Hawke:

Anishinabek Confederacy to Invoke our Nationhood        ACTION is a union of Sovereign Anishinabe individuals, communities and allies of other Nations who are restoring our Anishinabek Institutions in assertion of our Sovereignty on our collective territories.

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