There’s a small but mighty non-profit that is working to promote solidarity, respect and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.
Canadian Roots Exchange is a Toronto-based organization of youth who believe that education and awareness of the teachings and daily realities of Indigenous communities is needed in order to work towards reconciliation.
The organization brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth through workshops, leadership training and other events across the country. These events work to break down stereotypes and create open dialogue as well as build relationships among participants.
The organization’s flagship exchange program focuses on experiential learning. Exchanges bring together diverse groups of Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants for programs that range from five days to three weeks and are hosted on reserves. Each exchange is co-led by Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders.
Together, participants learn about history and current issues that have an impact on Indigenous communities as well as participate in cultural practices like drum-making and harvesting. Participants learn through formal and informal settings, meet with Indigenous community members and learn from Elders.
Canadian Roots Exchange works with an anti-oppressive, decolonized framework and demonstrates to non-Indigenous participants how they can show solidarity to Indigenous people. For many participants, it’s their first time visiting a reserve and intentionally building relationships with Indigenous peoples.
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