On November 27 and 28, Indigenous grade 7 students at Lady Grey Elementary School and some grade 6 students from Nicholson Elementary participated in the Resiliency Summit: Honouring Youth Voice in Calgary.
The Resiliency Summit is a two day gathering of Indigenous youth, educators and community members, with the purpose to share activities and celebrate indigenous culture. Students, as well as teachers, were able to learn from youth mentors, elders, and community members about various traditions and creative activities.
“The students really enjoyed it. It’s an overnight trip with their peers, and they absolutely love it,” said Margot McMullen, one of the teacher chaperons from Lady Grey and the organizer of the trip. “It’s hard for us to get presenters to this area, so it’s nice to bring them to this so they can learn about different nations.”
This is the fifth year that McMullen has taken students to the Resiliency Summit.
Students were able to listen to youth speakers, who detailed their own experiences with their indigenous culture. They were able to learn about treaties, as more than 30 schools representing Treaties 6, 7 and 8 were present.
They were also able to participate in workshops such as Resiliency Through Powwow, Elder Circle, Traditional Dene and Blackfoot Games, and were able to listen to an inspirational talk with Mohawk Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller.
“Basically, it’s for youth to connect to their indigenous roots and learn about celebrating other nations and other cultures,” said McMullen. “Really, it’s all about what it takes to be healthy in your life, in your mind and your body, and it’s really empowering for them.”
Lady Grey and Nicholson Elementary were the only two schools representing B.C. at the Summit. Going to Calgary offers the students a chance to learn more in depth about aspects of Indigenous culture, such as treaties, as there’s only one treaty in B.C..
The Resiliency Summit allows both the students and educators to ask questions and see where their curriculum may come up short.
“There’s always elders present for any conversation that you want to have,” said McMullen. “Basically, they’re there to talk about things going on in their schools and what they would like to see more of in schools, for both students and teachers.”
McMullen originally found the conference while looking up resources online.
The Resiliency Summit allows students an opportunity to try activities that they otherwise may have not had access to in a small town such as Golden. There’s also a huge emphasis placed on what it takes to live a healthy life, both psychically and mentally, while embracing indigenous culture.