The Medicine Wheel comes to our Main Space!

Some of the amazing youth on our team recently suggested we paint the tables in our main space to reflect the colours found in the Medicine Wheel. As an organization that affirms and celebrates Indigenous youth leadership, we were all on board with this great idea - and we can't wait for you to see the end result! 
Painting the tables to reflect the Medicine Wheel is just one example of Indigenous youth leadership that we are able to foster and celebrate here at YouthCO. Our Annual General Meeting, coming up this week on September 21, will also include a celebration of the three films written and directed by Indigenous youth through our First Directions program this summer. 
Why the Medicine Wheel? It is an important aspect of many teachings in Indigenous cultures. While the Medicine Wheel is not a part of many Indigenous cultures in BC, this teaching is one familiar to some of our Indigenous staff, volunteers, and members who have come from other places. Including these colours in the center of our space is one way to signal to Indigenous youth that we welcome Indigenous knowledge in our spaces, and recognize the diversity of Indigenous cultures! We also have a few other reasons why we backed this idea:
  • it creates an everyday reminder of our organizational values of cháchsaý, a Squamish word loosely translated to mean generosity, and anti-oppression. 
  • it helps us further celebrate our newest event series by the Yúusnewas team called "Culture is Healing". These events are by and for Indigenous youth and celebrate Indigenous culture and food. Indigenous youth come up with cultural activities to do together while building community. Through this program, Indigenous youth are able to share and expand their understanding of their culture, which has been disrupted through colonization. Check out the October Culture is Healing event, a drum making workshop!
  • it reminds us to acknowledge and center Indigenous voices around topics of HIV and Hep C, as Indigenous peoples experience disproportionate rates of living with HIV and/or Hep C. Since many of our programs at YouthCO involve educating people about HIV and Hep C, it is especially important for us to ensure that we respond to the specific ways these viruses are impacting Indigenous youth. 
Be sure to check out this small (but big) change the next time you are here at YouthCO! 
Hope to see you soon!

YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!