Youth in Saskatoon seek common ground through art
Pewapsconias first experienced racism at the age of 7
Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth will come together in Saskatoon to share their stories through art in hopes of building a better Canada.
I find my poetry to be an expression of who I am and my truth.- Janelle Pewapsconias
The gathering is part of the work being done by the Canadian Roots Exchange, or CRE, and the goal is reconciliation.
"Our definition of reconciliation is quite simple," said the CRE's Jessica Alegria.
"It is just bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth together to talk about our shared experience as a country and ideas of how to move forward in a good way."
Youth lead the way to reconciliation
Tonight's event, however, flows from the Saskatoon Youth Reconciliation Initiative, a team of young people trained by the CRE.
When the youth gather today, they'll do so with a backdrop of the CRE's National Story Blanket; it was created last year one panel at a time and the blanket is now touring the country as a finished piece.
"It's a representation of the ideas and concepts and hopes of reconciliation from youth across the country," said Alegria.
The poetic truth
The concept will be to share stories through art, and will feature Indigenous Poet Society member Janelle Pewapsconias.
"Art is a vessel to help people feel and understand," Pewapsconias said. "Art is a beautiful way of learning about the truth and getting to reconciliation."
Pewapsconias tries to tell the story of how colonization has impacted her life, beginning with her first memories as a victim of racism at the age of seven.
"I want to bring those stories and those poems and those truths … to give people a sense of what it is to be Indigenous in today's context in an urban setting," she said.
"I find my poetry to be an expression of who I am and my truth."
At the gathering, youth will be asked to find their own form of expression through various mediums, to as organizers said "carry on the tradition of learning together about truth and reconciliation in our own community."
Youth will gather at for the event at 5 p.m. CST at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan.