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.