Listening, learning and looking forward
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This article was published 20/10/2021 (587 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
I had the honour and privilege of being welcomed to Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata’s Every Child Matters youth event on Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
While there were many events taking place across the province that day, this event’s focus on youth really caught my attention.
Right from the start, the feeling of support for and empowerment of youth in attendance was compelling.
As part of the event, participating young people entered from four different directions — which is culturally and ceremonially significant — carrying sacred tobacco. The tobacco from each youth was joined together into one larger bowl, signifying the coming together and unity of everyone in attendance.
Everyone was given an opportunity to offer tobacco to the sacred fire and to pray or take a moment to silently acknowledge the solemnity of the day. Everyone was also offered an opportunity to speak and share their feelings about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is always looking to create learning opportunities and spaces for our youth to use their voice and be proud of who they are and where they come from,” explained Diane Redsky, executive director of Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata.
“It was especially important on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation that we focus on the youth as our next generation of leaders and provide that space to talk about the day, talk about courage, and talk about how we can each be a courageous leader.
“We wanted our youth to leave the event feeling empowered and proud to keep standing tall and making the changes needed in our communities,” she continued. “It was powerful to have youth share their knowledge and so meaningful to have leaders like Minister Gordon join us to honour the day and show support for our youth.”
As I sat and listened to elder David Budd and the many young people who all had equal opportunities to speak, I was moved and motivated. The elder relayed his own experiences and struggles but established a clear connection to working together, supporting each other and listening to all our youth to ensure we can move forward in a meaningful and collaborative way.
The message was also clear that truth and reconciliation happens every day.
There are everyday actions that must be interwoven into everything we do to create change all year. These daily changes and efforts create momentum that builds a better way of working together and supports and lifts our youth and future generations. I must commend all the organizers for their work and thought in pulling together such a successful event.
As an MLA and cabinet minister in the provincial government, there are many ways I can listen to people with lived experience, and to all our youth, to create support and meaningful change that enacts truth and reconciliation in my everyday work.
I am committed to supporting youth in our community, in particular Indigenous youth in Manitoba, and to actively be part of reconciliation as part of my daily personal and professional life.
Southdale constituency report
Audrey Gordon is the PC MLA for Southdale.