The youth of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, Ontario and Productions Cazabon request your support to roll up our sleeves together on closing the gaps of living conditions and creating greater awareness and understanding between Canadians and First Nations.
The Youth of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nations living in the remote Boreal forest of Northwestern Ontario invite you in their homes in an all-inclusive trip
The youth & their community graciously open their homes to 25 Canadians and look forward to:
.... More than anything, the youth want to create an opportunity to showcase their positive leadership and the spirit of their community to shine through. Together, and with you, they will show that there is still hope and Nation-to-Nation unity that awaits us all.
(Keep Scrolling to find out more!)
This project is made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, community advocate Josh Hellyer, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, Nipissing University and Productions Cazabon.
February 14, 2015
Reconciliation trip - July 17 - 23rd, 2015 in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Ontario
Booshoo ! Greetings from KI !
We are happy to invite you, on behalf of our community, to our reconciliation trip that is entirely led by our very own: youth of KI.
In this event, we are inviting 25 Canadians to join us, to live in our homes, to share in our daily experiences, see our deep connection to our waters, our land, our people, and our way of life here in our homelands of KI; the traditional way ! In doing this, we hope to raise awareness not just for our own community, but for all our fellow First Nation remote communities, for the good.
You see, we could go on and on about issues and concerns we have as a remote First Nation, but I don't want to do that. Instead, we would love for you to first-hand experience our love of the land, feel the fresh air we get from mother earth, taste our food given to us by the Creator, and to greet our People... then you will see that we are people just like everyone else- we feel, we hurt, we cry and we laugh.
As well, we have the full support to run this event by our Chief, Donny Morris, and our Council. They are behind us in all that we do, and we couldn't be any more blessed to have them support and believe in us, and for them to allow us to lead the way. As you may have heard time and time again "youth are the leaders of tomorrow", but you rarely see that youth are given a chance to demonstrate and bring that saying to life and into realization through leadership. We the youth believe that by us holding this event, we can be and example; and that if given a chance, we can do great and mighty things for ourselves and for our people. And for this reconciliation event, we are doing it!
You see, most people would think it is unusual for First Nation People and Canadians to be friends due to racial, origin, and language differences (to name a few), but we strongly disagree. How else can we live amongst each other and create a better home in this country we call Canada that we share together!? By us coming together, working and sharing in our lives can be an example of just that and especially that it is possible to be friends; we are friends! Also in doing this, we can create a better and stronger country for us, for our children and our children's children.
In closing, please know how honoured we are to host you and thankful you will be taking the time to see why we love our People, our Home, our Waters, our Land, and our way of life. Maybe in doing this, everyone will begin to stand together and be as one!
Youth Leader - June Event in K.I.
Youth Leader - June Event in K.I.
Youth Leader - June Event in K.I.
cc. Chief Donny Morris - Kitchenuhmakoosib Inninuwug
Andrée Cazabon - Productions Cazabon : 3rd World Canada filmmaker and event partner
tel. 613 - 864 - 1907
"This event means a lot to me because I have hope for the future of our children; that they will grow up knowing that the old typical stereotypes of us Aboriginals will change in the future: if we do our part in changing our home we call Canada. By extending our friendship to Canadians, that is a start in getting there. We gotta start somewhere."
-Leona Matthews - Youth Leader - Reconciliation event 2014
The youth of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Productions Cazabon are collaborating with organizations across Canada to organize KI 2014, a reconciliation event to be held in their northern remote community. The objectives of this event are:
• to revitalize the KI community through youth-led events that will foster the expression and exchange of cultural knowledge;
• to promote dialogue and understanding between exchange participants and their First Nations hosts;
• community-wide, youth-driven leadership through the arts, intergenerational mentorship and skills development;
• cultural resurgence through a community-driven process that reinstates indigenous material and traditions as living expressions of community life;
• to form new connections between KI and the general Canadian public by raising awareness of issues facing First Nations communities.
KI 2015 is an innovative, grassroots solution to an all-too common problem in Ontario: the lack of dialogue and cross-cultural exchange between peoples of the North and the South. These are the first steps towards reconciliation and are a pivotal part of our program. The youth of KI set the groundwork for the KI 2014 with the very successful 2013 June Event. In 2014, Productions Cazabon is working with the KI youth to help build on the momentum from last year, both in their efforts to continue inter-cultural dialogue and to foster community revitalization.
The youth in KI will determine how the Event will be structured, the vision and rationale behind each day’s theme, and the activities necessary to fulfill those. The youth will also work with Productions Cazabon to communicate their message to mainstream Canadians and engage with local partners, such as schools, service clubs, NGOs and the business sector.
Productions Cazabon will provide ongoing mentorship to youth leaders, who in turn will provide peer-to-peer mentorship for event planning, professional communications and leadership skills. Elaina Matthews, a 16 year-old new youth leader from KI, will travel to the South during the event-planning period for an extended period of mentorship from Productions Cazabon. In KI, the youth will broadcast their message at community functions, as well as on radio and local television, to engage and share with elders and community members how they can participate and join in. Productions Cazabon, through their communication services, will help to maintain a strong online presence during the Event so that the event receives coverage and attention across Canada. The guests will take their experience home and we will encourage them to spread their new knowledge by contributing to or starting outreach programs, preparing presentations and organizing fundraisers.
The youth have already begun planning this year’s event and fundraising. As an example of an activity to take place during the event, one of the themes of this year’s event is the issue of housing in the North. The youth would like to build a traditional teepee with their elders in preparation for the guests. This would provide an opportunity for young people who may have lost traditional land-based skills to learn traditional practices from community elders. It will encourage intergenerational mentorship and it will give the youth the opportunity to reconnect with and affirm their indigenous heritage. In turn, the elders will have the opportunity to see the youth engage positively in their community and see the full potential that exists when the community works together to achieve common goals.
At the June event in 2013, the youth were not sure if the elders would engage positively in the project. It was not clear whether the youth and elders would be able to overcome the language and generational barriers that exist in the community and, crucially, whether the elder’s religious practices would clash with the youth’s drum circle project. These potential stumbling blocks to intergenerational cohesion proved to be surmountable and the event was very successful.
Moving forward into this year’s project, the youth would like to move from dialogue and cohesion towards community action. The construction of the teepee will give the youth the opportunity to move from conversation to action. The teepee will have both symbolic meaning and practical use for the KI community. Guests could opt to stay in the teepee, hosted by elders and family members, as a one-night alternative to their family stay. The teepee will also stimulate dialogue between guests and youth about the current state of housing in KI and its importance.
The Event engages peoples of all ages and communities. It has a track record of success and positive impact on all participants involved with the project. It is a project that meets the evolving needs of KI and that is moving towards self-sufficiency. The project will strengthen the ties between numerous key organizations by connecting the KI community with businesses such as Porter Airlines and Wasaya, and with organizations like the Toronto Rotary Club, the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI-GTA) and many more. These relationships are key to the self-sufficiency of this project; to ensuring that a strong, stable partnership is created between the people of KI and the projects supporting organizations even after the 2015 Northern Reconciliation Event is over.
An additional objective of this project will involve the youth of KI taking full creative and leadership control over any events that take place in 2015. In order to achieve this goal, funding from our partners will help build organizational capacity among the youth so that they can implement a new project of their choice. Funding for bookkeeping, advertising and postage will help them to get Northern program off the ground. Events like the Northern Reconciliation Event are complex, multi-stakeholder projects; having adequate seed funding will have a lasting impact on the youth and their community.
Let us know your name and e-mail address as well as a little bit about you and we will contact you with next steps to joining the trip! We operate on a first come, first serve basis. We hope you'll join us as we work towards reconciliation and healing.
Even if you are unable to attend the trip, there are still ways to get involved.
Even if you are unable to travel to Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug this summer, you can still support this unique act of reconciliation and the young people who are leading it.
You can Donate or Help Fundraise, and your organization or small business can become a sponsor. Donations are needed to help subsidize the cost of the trip, and to support further Reconciliation or Youth Empowerment initiatives.
The Youth of KI are at the heart of the planning and implementation of all reconciliation events. They seek to revitalize their community by strengthening intergenerational ties and reaching out to Canadians whose experience with the North is limited.
When we started planning the June Event last year, as one of our youth leaders Justin Beardy said, we wanted our guests “to see our living conditions and the hope we still have.”
We got what we wanted and more.
When our guests first got off the plane they were strangers, by the first night they were friends, by the time they left, they felt like family.
- Faith Mckay, a youth leader, describing the impact of the 2013 KI event.
Here are some of the other youth leaders describing the June Event.
Hi, my name is Justin Beardy. I am from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) formerly known as Big Trout Lake. I am writing this, so you can better understand my connection to the land. Unfortunately, I can not speak for everybody, but there may be many others with a similar connection. You see, I don't go out on the land or the lake because I feel like I have to. I do it because I want to. When my grandfather was still alive, he used to tell us; "Go to the land, that is where we get our power". At the time, I didn't know what he was saying; I thought he was just crazy. Growing up with alcoholism and my drug addictions, I soon came to realize that way of life didn't matter. When I was in the bush, it just felt great to be alive. So yes, I believe there is a power there. I now know what my grandfather was teaching me. It took a great deal of time to understand this and I am grateful for what he taught me. When I go hunting or fishing, I give thanks for every kill and pray their passing to the next life is a good one. Every kill is a sacrifice the animals make, so it is a blessing to be chosen by the animal for its sacrifice. So I believe, thanks and a prayer is not only customary but necessary; out of respect for their sacrifice. I kill only what I intend to eat or feed others. I try to feed the elders or the people unable to go out onto the land, as much as I can. So much as, I sometimes have nothing to take home. I hunt and fish with my father, so these are his teachings to me as well. Going out on the land is the best time to think about life. I get a lot of time to myself, there are no distractions and it's just beautiful out there. I draw upon all of this, so my focus is more clear on issues I may contemplate on. A lot of times, I find the answers to my hardest questions. Going on the land is not something for us to do, it's what makes us who we are. My connection to the land is like a baby to their mother. She is my mother and this cord cannot be cut.
I am inviting you into my community for a week for you to show you how beautiful my land is, in addition I'd like for you to try our traditional food and other useful things we get from the resources around our community. I believe this will get the word out that we are still living off the land, that we wouldn't know what to do without it. I think this will help with our future generations, to hopefully get our traditions to stay alive. As a youth myself, I'd really like to see my land used as my ancestors used it. Not everything is in perfect condition be we make it work.
‘To see our living conditions - they’re is 6 of us in our 2 bedroom trailer.’
Well, I'm 15 years old I'll be 16 in the summer. One tough thing about living in KI is that at times, I feel trapped like there's no where else to go. I've experience a lot of stuff, but every summer I spend my birthday in the bush in Geraldton & do training for all sorts of activities. I've even went to aviation, I flew a plane above Thunder Bay for half an hour. Also, I've designed a yearbook for KI last year.
I'm inviting the Canadians because I want them to experience what it's like to live in an isolated community & the beautiful land we have here we call our home. I believe we can do this if we just put in the time and if we work as a community we can accomplish anything. It would probably make more youth come out and support this big event, maybe even show their talents.
" I don’t have a home in my own homeland " - Karyn NightHawk
Meekwun Anderson, Drummer
To me this is important for the youth a chance to show some people and others that youth can do more then just drink and do drugs...show ‘em we are capable of great things and we can come together to bring anything to life.
Darryl Sainnawap - Ontario First Nations People Council, KI youth rep
‘I want them to know what it’s like to live up here’
‘I would like to invite Canadians to our home for them to experience the land and culture that I am so proud of.’
" That life in the North can be hard but we still have hope." - Justin Beardy
I would like to invite you to my reserve KI. It's an opportunity to experience the way we live up north and how we survive. Come and see the beauty of the north that I have come to love and respect. I was born and raised in KI by my grandparents which is common among natives. This will benefit the youth in KI because it will encourage them to want to do more for their community, for themselves and also to make important contacts to help them accomplish what ever it is they desire.
I saw the video msg from the youth walkers addressed to us and it really inspired me to keep going and to see this project through. It was the motivation I needed to take this lead and finish what we started. Yes I would like very much for them to come and visit us in June because I know the youth of KI would be so excited and they can talk to the them give them a positive msg...after all they are role models.
Greetings from KI ! First of all, I'd like to extend an invitation to you to attend our June Event - Only in KI. In doing this, I hope we become great friends. I also would love for you to share in the experiences we share every day of our lives; whether they'd be good or bad ! Just like every community, we too have our own issues and concerns, but not only that. We have a deep connection with our people, our waters, and this God-given land we call home ! In showing this to you, I hope that you too open your eyes and see the reason why we fight so hard for our way of life. Meegwetch and I am looking forward to seeing you this summer, it'll be a blast!
Lawrence Morris To: His Excellency David Johnston
Hi, my name is Lawrence Morris. I am a youth from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Innunwug - K.I (formerly known as Big trout Lake). We have met each other in November 2012. Myself and another youth from K.I Came to Rideau Hall and sang our community honour song. We were accompanied by Andrée Cazabon. What I would really like to ask you is if you would like to attend our June event here in K.I as a our guest of Honour. I really had the privilege of meeting you in November and I would have the privilege of meeting you again. Thank you!
Kitchnuhmaykoosib Inninuwug has successfully lead Reconciliation Trips in the summers of 2014 and 2013. These trips were very intrepid and were met with resounding success, building lasting friendships between Nations, developing understanding between First Nations and Canadians, challenging and breaking down stereotypes. These week-long events enabled "ordinary Canadians" to experience life on a remote First Nations reservation, experience the beauty and provisions of the land, and the warm spirit and hospitality of the people of Big Trout Lake. To learn more about these unforgettable experiences, please see our "Previous Trips" and "Gallery" pages.
An Invitation to Understand this Remote First Nations Community - Huffington Post
Remote First Nation Offers One-of-a-Kind 'Vacation' for Canadians - Globe and Mail
KI Youth Inspire Visitors with Love of Community, Land and Culture - Wasaya Travel Guide 2014
How we Build Relationships with Ontario's First Nations - Globe and Mail
Non-Aboriginal Canadians get set to Experience KI - Wawatay News
Canadian Rangers Impress Royal Visitor - Wawatay News
KI Visit Eye-Opening Experience - Wawatay News
On the Rez in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug - Wawatay News
Film Shines Lights on Canada's Third World - Toronto Star
Youth Lead Way, KI Event - Wawatay News