My name is Sidney Ray Shacter, and I am a Metis youth from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I am currently in my first year of university, working toward degrees in Computer Science and Commerce. I am also a film maker, and I love engaging youth in the creation of film as a way to express their perspectives on reconciliation. I became involved with Canadian Roots Exchange in 2016 through participating in the “Stories of Solidarity” program in Saskatoon, and I am so excited to be part of the Saskatoon Youth Reconciliation Initiative team this year!
Hello everyone. My name is Kiara Jaxenny Alegria. I am a queer woman, latina mestiza (of mixed indigenous and european ancestry.) I was born on Treaty 6 land, to a family of refugees from El Salvador in Central America. Though I have much to learn, my indigenous roots have grounded my worldview from a young age, thanks to my mother, and our mothers before. My first language is probably Spanglish, I hope to learn many more. I am a visual artist, a music, food, animal, and plant lover and a love lover. My family and listening to my own purpose are of the utmost importance to me. I am a creature of city, but mostly of nature. I have people in my family of very diverse ancestry and cultures including plains Cree. This, and my recognition of myself as a settler from a refugee family on Treaty 6 territory are two big reasons why I wanted to be involved with CRE. I live a life informed by the struggle and resilience of those surrounding me, and of my own experiences of healing, learning and resiliency. I believe that there is much to be learned by making intersectional, cross-cultural and intergenerational connections to share stories and learn histories. My hope is that as a YRI, I will be able to help cultivate some of that exchange with my team in my own communities and in theirs. I am very grateful for this opportunity, for the knowledge I have received, and for the community of CRE in working together in this work. Thank you.
Tanisi, My name is Laceshia Kennedy from Little Pine First Nation, in the treaty 6 territory. I am a youth leader for the Youth Reconciliation Initiative, through the Canadian Roots Exchange. The CRE is a group of indigenous and non-indigenous youth that take part in exchanges, workshops, conferences, and leadership training. As a Youth Care Worker, I was looking for something similar to ignite my ideas, gain more knowledge, actively listen and personally experience the dialogue to foster the understanding of reconciliation. Given the opportunity, we learn something new every day through shared history, teachings, and daily realities of indigenous youth in Canada.
Tanisi, my name is Leigh Thomas (Piyesiw Okanaweyihcikew) I’m a Two-Spirit, Nêhiyaw-Métis man from Chitek Lake Indian Reserve, SK-Treaty 6 territory and Métis homeland. I am currently based in Saskatoon, SK. As I am in my 3rd year of the Regional and Urban Planning Program at the University of Saskatchewan. I am also a P/T Naval Combat Information Operator within the Canadian Armed Forces. My goal in life is to simply help people and lead by positive example. Throughout my life I have always been working with and towards addressing Indigenous issues and reconnecting people back to the land and culture through language and sharing stories. I love being on the land, dancing, and being with my friends and family. Follow me on Instagram @rezkid_realizations