Youth BRIDGES: Newcomer and Indigenous Cultures
About 40 young people decided to spend their spring holidays learning about each other. The goal was to build a relationship between Indigenous and Newcomer Youth and share the history of Canada and its Indigenous people and find ways of working together. This was achieved through the partnership with the Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre (NYFC), the Regina Open Door Society (RODS) and the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan (MCoS) brought together the young people, aged between 13 and 21, for a three-day workshop called Building Bridges Between Indigenous and Newcomer Youth, or Youth BRIDGES.
The first day consisted of intercultural communication through sharing cultural practices and perspectives. Day 2 included a field trip to a medicine ranch on the George Gordon First Nation, where they learned the importance of bison, the significance and spirit of horses to the First Nations culture. As well as building a tipi and the meaning behind the four colors and the design. In addition a tour to the school, and to the employment training centre provided the young people with the knowledge of the types of resources that are available. The hospitality and generosity of the reserve community was incredible and we like to express our sincerely gratitude. Day 3 included community service at the Food Bank this provided the young people with an opportunity to work together as a team and also rewarding experience by giving back to the community. The program was concluded by traditional taking circle and a celebration with food, interactive arts and music at the Newo-Yotina Friendship Centre.
Through the 3 days of gathering, we were able to witness the young people evolving from the first day where there were limited interaction, to the second day where they were exchanging Facebook info, to the third day where they were exchanging phone numbers.
Yordanos Tesfamariam, Education & BRIDGES Coordinator
What does this tell us? An ingredient for building relationship is to create a safe and welcoming environment and the rest is human nature. As the famous quote by W.B Yates illustrates, “There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.”
Stay tuned for more projects and stories through the Youth BRIDGES program.