Aboriginal youths from across Atlantic Canada met this weekend on P.E.I., and while there are many items on the agenda the Idle No More movement is the hot topic at the meeting.
The Native movement was launched in the fall by four women in opposition to the federal budget bill, which they argued harmed Native rights and weakened environmental laws. The movement has since grown to include protests across the country attracting thousands of people.
Noel Joe, a Mi'kmaq Maliseet Atlantic Youth Council representative from Newfoundland and Labrador, has been in Ottawa working with Idle No More, and flew into P.E.I. for the conference.
"These are very inspirational times, these are times where we need to continue to work together. We are stronger together," said Joe.
Noel said discussion at the meeting focused on making sure young people benefit from social change the movement brings.
"Youth are our future, and it's important that we have people to speak on their behalf and carry their messages forward," he said.
Former council member Samantha Lewis is excited about the timing of the meeting, the first to be held on a P.E.I. reserve. She organized a weekend rally in Charlottetown that attracted 300 people.
"We're still going to keep moving forward because it's a grass roots driven, and so our youth in P.E.I. are taking part and we're quite proud of that," said Lewis.
The rally was one of many across the country, including cross-cultural events such as Latino-Canadians in support of Idle No More in Edmonton on Saturday.