The CRE was founded on the premise that together we can build a generation of leaders that will redefine and strengthen existing relationships between Canada's peoples. This is a national process that walks the talk, and truly believes in and has activated the idea that ‘exchanges unite us’ across Canada. It is a youth-led initiative that targets Canadians between the ages of 18-30, giving them access to experiential knowledge and intercultural participation that will build new understandings between college and university students and Aboriginal youth and their communities. The CRE has already mobilized plans to expand our reach to high school age youth as well and will be running and Exchange with Pelican Falls HS this coming summer. The Canadian Roots Exchange project brings Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth together on one, two or three-week journeys, with the ultimate goal of having exchanges and field courses in Aboriginal communities, organizations and businesses in every province and territory across Canada. CRE programming is directly coordinated and led by young people in partnership with adult cultural and community resources. Each participant is encouraged to actively bridge what has been repeatedly identified through research as a critical ‘knowledge divide’ in this country. The CRE has developed a multi-faceted experiential educational model that effectively bridges this long-standing cultural divide through respectful dialogue, play, laughter, ceremony and interpersonal sharing sessions.
As a facilitator and multi-disciplinary artist I find that people are more open to learning about the truth even if it isn't so nice when you approach them from a non-confrontational artisan perspective. I hope that by providing a safe space and opportunity for my participants to listen, learn and participate in our Dene culture this exchange will initiate healthy working relationships on various levels throughout our Territory and across Canada. This is why I am working with youth across Canada to continue to build a national educational initiative called the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE). This summer we will be running two intercultural exchange between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in the North West Territories. I am applying for this Change Maker funding for this project because we will need approximately $50,000.00 to fund it because of the distance. This exchange would not only provide an opportunity to introduce the participants to our traditions but also provide them with a chance to immerse and open themselves up to a whole new world of understanding with regards to the Indigenous Identity, traditions and protocols. I believe I am a Change Maker because I inspire others to believe in their individuality. We are all here to accomplish great things and inspire many but it begins with knowing and loving who you are because you are the only you this world will ever know, so shine through your strengths and gifts. Follow your heart and you can provide a path for others to follow your lead. The creator doesn't make mistakes the creator makes master pieces and that is exactly what we all are.
The Canadian Roots Exchange in the North West Territories will take 14 participant (7 Aboriginal & 7 Non-Aboriginal Youth) led by two intercultural leaders and two cultural guides on a 10-day exploration of the strengths and struggles of the people living in and around Yellowknife. The projects will run in June and August and will bring together elders, leaders, community worker and youth to share and learn from each other. By contextualizing Aboriginal traditions and practice through a contemporary and holistic educational experience and promoting youth leadership development, the Canadian Roots Exchange seeks to build a better understanding of our cultural roots and promote the positive potential of building a better future together.