Celebrating Indigenous Youth Voices & Reclaiming Our Bodies

Cover Photo

First Directions was back at it again this March, and this year's group of youth made three videos on important topics! With the support of the First Nations Health Authority, and the MAC AIDS Fund, we hosted another group of creative, outstanding, Indigenous youth from across BC.

During our First Directions retreat, the Yúusnewas team had conversations around harm reduction, sexual health, and decolonizing our health with Indigenous youth who are passionate about supporting and taking care of each other. Coming together from each of the four directions, we created dialogue about important issues that often go unspoken of as a result of stigma, shame, and ultimately, colonization. We believe that this space to talk about our bodies and experiences will help shape more inclusive environments when speaking about our health and sexual diversity.

The team of facilitators from Reel Youth, a media empowerment project, shared their knowledge about filming, how use video equipment, sound for the film, and many other aspects of filming a video, in just three days! They helped the youth take their ideas from their minds, to paper, to screen. It was an amazing process to watch. The first day with Reel Youth was largely brainstorming video ideas, and learning how to use the cameras and equipment. The last two days, the three groups of youth filmed the messages they wanted to voice. This year’s videos covered important topics that we often shy away from:

  1. Grief: taking care of ourselves and healing. This video is called, "Water Prayer".
  2. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. This video is called, "Are We Next?".
  3. Suicide: The importance of community, and checking in with each other. This video is called, "Live 4 Tomorrow".

Each of these films includes content created by Indigenous youth to share their experiences. We may find this content difficult to watch - it may remind us of our own experiences, or those in our communities. If you are an Indigenous person who wants to talk to another Indigenous person about a difficult situation, or thoughts and feelings about grief, suicide, self-injury, and/or assault, call the 24/7 confidential KUU-US crisis line now: 1-800-588-8717.

Yúusnewas is available year-round to visit Indigenous communities across BC, to share these videos, and our youth-led workshops on harm reduction, sexual health, and decolonizing our bodies. We would love to connect with you and see how we can use our youth-led approach to peer education to support your community.

Get in touch with us now to learn more about bringing us to your community:

[email protected]

Call toll free: 1-855-968-8468

Phone: 604-688-1441

Instagram: @yuusnewas

Facebook: Yúusnewas

Our First Directions retreat is a wonderful place to start discussions around HIV and harm reduction. We encourage Indigenous youth to take back their sexual health and knowledge of using substances through Indigenous-led education and supportive resources. We hope these films awaken your spirit, as they did ours.