Updated: Apr 3, 2020
Shākāt Media spoke with Melanie and Bill Bennett today about the conference, “Our children Our Education Our way.”
“So one of the reasons that we did the elder youth evening at our education conference was because wanted to try and see if there was a different way to engage our youth. We want to have their voice moving forward with first nations control, and first nations education . By different way, we want to do something that will inspire them to come. The youth give us feedback and we decided that one, they needed to have the guidance of the elders as well. So we said, let's connect the two. It had to be something that was relatable to both youth and elders and what's more relatable than traditional games. Then we would ask them questions and it's our job to take that feedback and incorporate it into our planning in. That's what we were trying to do here with this conference. With the mindset that if it was successful, we would then go out and use this as our model, if you want to call it consulting with the communities.
So instead of just engaging in another meeting and just having a sit down dinner and all of that, we tried to do it in a more traditional way and it was really successful.” Melanie tells Shākāt.
Hello, my name is Bill Bennett, and to give you some background on our conference that was held in Whitehorse Yukon. The conference was called Our Children Our Education Our Way. So about 30 youth showed up and elders, and the chiefs and councillors and dignitaries. Some of our elders including Hazel Bunbury, Arnie Baptiste, Steven Bentley, Mary Battaja, Lorraine Allen, James Allen were there. Dr. Cindy Blackstock and grand Chief Peter Johnston were also there. The youth had a small gathering where they demonstrated their stick gambling abilities to the elders.And they drummed and they dance and they sang and they brought out who they were in a traditional way. After that we broke bread and had a nice traditional supper with everyone. Then after that we had Indian bingo. It was a lot of excitement, a lot of prizes, and everyone was very happy with.The elders just interacted with the youth in a very positive, supportive way and environment. We look forward to more of these gatherings in the communities in the future.