Canadian Roots Exchange on Idle No More
TORONTO (Thursday, December 20, 2012)
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) is a group of young Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada who believes it’s possible to build bridges between all of Canada’s peoples. Paramount to this reconciliation process is looking to youth for meaningful solutions. CRE organizes programs that allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to come together and become more aware of the history, teachings and daily realities of Indigenous communities in Canada. Through our exchange programs, workshops and events we strive to dispel stereotypes, resolve conflicts and facilitate reconciliation amongst and through youth.
The Idle No More movement has been gaining momentum and has mobilized Indigenous youth across the country. In fact, Chief Theresa Spence now in her 10th day of a hunger strike, combined with Idle No More rallies throughout the country indicate that serious changes to the relationships between the First Peoples of Canada and the rest of the country are necessary. Idle No More symbolizes a wake-up call for today’s Indigenous youth. The continuous cycle of failure to bridge the growing divide and disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples can’t go on.
Reconciliation starts with acknowledging the diverse histories of Indigenous communities in Canada and how these histories continue to have an impact on things today. CRE doesn’t shy away from difficult discussions. Emotionally charged topics such as the intergenerational effects of residential schools, murdered and missing Indigenous women, treaties, racism and stereotypes are all tackled head-on. We provide youth with new ways of moving forward by tackling difficult topics and by celebrating the rich history, traditions and knowledge of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and nations.
CRE sees the current Idle No More movement as a reflection of a dynamic between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples that continues to fail. Without an open dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and without universal understanding of how the treaties apply to all of us, this movement will only continue to heat up. Moreover, the high level of engagement of Indigenous youth and their non-Indigenous youth allies that is currently being witnessed is worth celebrating and illustrates that today’s generation of youth does have answers different to those that have failed us for over a century.
On Friday December 21, Idle No More events are planned across the country. CRE is choosing not to be idle. Instead, CRE will be taking this opportunity to channel the energy of young people to help identify new solutions on how today’s generation of youth can right past wrongs and begin a new path of healing and reconciliation. Currently, CRE has youth reconciliation teams comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth volunteers who have been bringing together youth in 6 regions of the country. Our teams of youth will be attending Idle No More and other events over the upcoming days and weeks with the objective of speaking with youth directly to hear and document their opinions, positive ideas and solutions. CRE sees the high number of Indigenous youth working with non-Indigenous youth allies, and recognizes this as the sign of a new spirit of cooperation. CRE will continue to listen to and put forward positive youth voices through a series of workshops and forums in the new year. These forums aim to bring together youth of all backgrounds in order to provide an alternative to past failed solutions. We invite you to join us!