Canadian Roots Exchange

The Canada Roots Exchange National Gathering in Saskatoon is full to capacity with engaged young citizens from across Canada.  This 3 day event is a journey of healing, discovery, and change.  Each experience invites participants to deepen their understanding of themselves and one another, and to forge the tools for decolonization and reclamation.

One Thunderous Voice is on site — 15 students and 6 mentors from 3 Saskatoon Public Collegiates: Mount Royal, Bedford Road, and Aden Bowman.  They form one team, One Thunderous Voice, responding to Call to Action 63.iii.  Through their retreats and e-journalism, they develop their own capacities for “empathy, mutual respect, and intercultural understanding.”  Their website invites you to do the same.

Join them as they journey through this conference, and add your voice to their thunder.

November 16th

Youth Panel #2: Reconciliation

In the audiofile below, One Thunderous Voice e-journalists Teri Thomas and Clarenz Salvador discuss the big ideas from the event’s second Youth Panel on Reconciliation.    They explore:

  • What is the difference between “artificial” and “genuine” reconciliation?
  • How should we respond to hate speech?
  • Why should youth leaders persist when there are critics in their midst?

For our listeners, what can you add to this discussion?

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Response to the Youth Panel:


November 15th

Opening & Welcome


I first and foremost want to welcome all visitors to treaty 6 territory! I’m so honoured that I got the chance to be at this event and experience real change happen. We brainstormed with youth from all four directions of Canada to discuss and provide solutions to reconciliation.

After my first day of the event, I felt inspired to create more work for truth and reconciliation. Hearing the young St.Francis students pray and sing in Cree was a beautiful start to the day. They were all wearing ribbon skirts or shirts. Hearing that students are being taught their language, identity, and culture in a colonial structure is amazing to me.  I wish I had that experience in school when I was 11-12 years old.

The students provided an example of what all schools should be doing through the lens of reconciliation — providing language and culture in curriculum to decolonize the structures all students learn in.

I’d like to thank the sponsors and community of CRE with their wonderful work of including youth voice. I’m looking forward to the next few days of educating myself.


First Impression quotes

Youth Panel #1
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The youth panel combined Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on change, self- care, relationships, and understanding. It started off with a social justice definitions game.  Teams were challenged to define colonialism, white privilege, intersectionality, oppression, bystanders, and allies. 

They then transitioned to questions about self care, reconciliation, safety, and allyship. It was empowering to hear the wisdom of each panelist as they engaged in hard discussions about what youth can do and have been doing.  Panelists agreed that there is a need to understand generations, to move together as a whole, to mend broken relationships, to get rid of ignorance, and to create restoration and cultural resurgence in reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is bigger than all of us but it’s our choice to be apart of the movement.”



Something that stuck out to me was when Cheyenne said child welfare is similar to Residential Schools, HAYLEE COCHURENE

I appreciated the youth panel because it was a diverse group of people sharing where they thrive, where belong in the world, and how people see them. Also how open minded they all were.  A question I have is: Why throughout North America’s history were First Nations treated horribly ex: Abraham Lincoln hanged 38 Dakota Sioux fighters? 


I absolutely loved Jasmine, as a fellow POC (person of colour).  I connected to her viewpoints and experience and really valued her advice. It has given me a new perspective of myself. I also liked how the youth leaders represented  perspectives of Indigenous peoples all around the world.  A question I have is: How did you reach the point of understanding yourself as a POC?


Every single one of those speakers defined and answered every question well. I fully understood what they were telling us. They inspire me to step out of my comfort zone and speak about all the topics they spoke about because I feel like it was really powerful. The questions that were given to the speakers were great. They were about problems, issues, and white privilege.   All those topics were really an eye-opener because not a lot of people would be able to answer those question on their own.  That shows how strong we are when we work together. 


I appreciated the panelists’ opinions on ignorance and education on reconciliation. They spoke of allyship as a lifelong journey, and solidarity as a matter of the heart. 


I appreciate the youth panel because the conversation was truthful and honest — expressed from youthful minds. I formed connections with some of the panelists: I connected to Cheyenne for her feelings about not having a place to belong because of her being mixed and her light skin.  I connected to Veronica, who did not grow up with her culture and has to seek it out. I had no disagreements with what any of them were saying.


“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” Bridges McCall

I appreciated the youth panel because they took time off to talk to us.

I felt sad, because there are still issues we face today, but I am also feeling hopeful because we as Indigenous people are still fighting today to keep our voices and practices strong.

Something that stood out to me was when Cheyanne said the child welfare system is a continuation of the residential school. The government still fails the children today as well as the parents. It is a cycle that needs to be broken.

I appreciated the youth panel because it was refreshing to actually hear about the perspectives and ideas of the young minds that will make the change we have been long discussing in this conference. It is one thing to hear the older generations exclaim the call for action our generation will create, but listening to the actual voices of youth is more impactful as a young person myself.

A question I have is: How can I, as a young woman of colour, pursue self-discovery in a society where my identity is hidden?

AYO! Leadership

I had the chance to listen to Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO) leadership workshop. They started in 2011, wanting to gather together to stop violence and change mindsets in the north end of Winnipeg.   They “created a gang for a good purpose”!

They are now in their 7th year and continue to do outstanding initiatives. They give youth opportunities and a family.  They challenge stereotypes and provide teachings, ceremony, and identity to those who struggle from not having it. 

AYO has a website and social media apps with the list of initiatives and what you could do to help. also have a office at the Indigenous Family Centre in Winnipeg. @ayomovement on instagram and Twitter!  Listening to AYO leaders encourages youth to start their own movements and be a leaders with a good mindset.