First Nations youth share wisdom
Tales told through poetry, dance and photography
Wisdom stories reflect on three questions: Who am I? What are the opportunities in my community? What kind of changes can I contribute toward?
The questions were answered during the first Aboriginal Youth Explosion, which was held at Mount Royal University on March 18. The event, hosted by Bridges Social Development, was an opportunity for First Nations youth to share their experiences and wisdom stories.
Bridges worked with the youth on a monthly, weekly and sometimes bi-weekly basis prior to the Youth Explosion event. Tara Beaver, who participated in this year’s event, explained what a wisdom story means to her.
“Telling your life experience from how you went wrong to what you did to overcome it,” Beaver said. “Just how your spiritual journey goes, you don’t really know where you’re going, but you have an idea. It’s pretty much the knowledge of the experience.”
Beaver grew up on a reservation, but attended school in Cochrane.
“Being in both communities I was always an outcast, I was lost,” she said. “My grandfather was my father figure and he passed away when I was 14. That’s when I lost myself to alcohol. I took off for about four years.”
She continued: “I was on the carnival circuit, which allowed me to see all of Canada and the East Coast. I met a lot of different people.
“When I was out there, no one really knew what Aboriginals were. That’s what really got me down in my heart, that these people don’t even know who we are. My history and my bloodline are being lost, and I want to revive that because it should be known.”
Though Beaver told her wisdom story through spoken word, participants also used photography, poetry, hip-hop and other artistic expressions to get their message across.
Lindsay Mitchell, executive director of Bridges, said the event was about helping Calgarians better understand a culture that is not usually well recognized.
“There’s a lot of interest from individuals who want to know about a community that’s right next to us that we don’t often hear about,” Mitchell said.