Summer Reflections

Sept 8, 2020—Headwaters Lake, BC: Behind-the-scenes and beyond-the-screen, a lot has been happening with IndigenEYEZ during this time of COVID.

The great pause of 2020 has given us an opportunity to dedicate time and energy to the organizational roots of our work. This has included curriculum development, capacity building, and fine tuning our strategic direction.

Since our beginnings in 2014 we’ve grown quickly, reaching 7,500 youth and adults through camps on the land, with workshops, leadership trainings, and delivering an even broader range of community-specific workshops across BC and Alberta.

We have done this with an amazing team of facilitators who have been willing to improvise, and deliver workshops without specific curriculum or resources materials.

Because we’re committed to supporting communities, we know that their capacity needs to be a priority, and that curriculum and resources are essential to capacity building. A key piece of our long terms strategy for decolonization, is to give these communities the tools they need to adapt our methodologies to fit their community needs.

Odette and her daughter Sofia

We have been fortunate to have Odette Auger join our team. Odette is Sagamok Anishnawbek and works from the traditional territories of the Klahoose (toq qaymɩxʷ) on Cortes Island, BC. With a wealth of experience in organizational development, fundraising in the not-for-profit sector, and 18 years designing and facilitating youth programs, Odette’s values and passions are deeply aligned with IndigenEYEZ.

Last summer she also witnessed an amazing transformation that took place in her daughter, Sofia, after attending our IndigenEYEZ youth camp.

In order to be better equipped for her capacity building role, Odette attended our Touch The Earth workshops series this summer. She wanted to experience IndigenEYEZ first hand, as a participant.

“Touch the Earth reset something for me, feeling genuinely connected to the land was something that had quietly slipped to the wayside… not forgotten, but not present throughout my day like it had once been. I’m grateful for this shift, miigwetch.” – Odette Auger

Not only did she attend, but she also created a radio program, for Cortez Community Radio, CKTZ 89.5 FM.

 

Here’s a quick glimpse into Odette’s Touch The Earth experience:

I haven’t done a road trip in a long time, the winding, washboard dirt road on the way in… kind of left me feeling a little carsick when I arrived… Maybe walking around will help feel a little better.

Then on the walk down, I don’t know why I didn’t notice it coming up, but there’s wild strawberries everywhere. Criss crossing the path, all throughout the undergrowth. And I know, I know from when I was young, that wild strawberry leaf was excellent medicine- for anything with digestion. So I start chewing it. And there’s more, I pick up the leaves, it’s good medicine.

What’s interesting to me, I didn’t see it until I had done my connecting with the land. Almost like blinders, I didn’t see what I needed. But now I see it everywhere.

The radio program includes interview with Director, Co-Founder, and Lead Facilitator Kelly Terbasket (Syilx), Facilitator Skayu Louis (Syilx), Administrator Anni Phillips (Cree), participant Dana Setter (Secwepemc), and even Odette’s daughter, who participated in Touch The Earth, Sofia. To get a sense of Odette’s first hand experience, listen to her 30 minute audio segment here:

In the near future Odette will be leading up network and program coordination, as well as our youth camps next summer.

If you missed chance to participate in our workshops this summer, stay tuned for an upcoming announcement about on our next Touch the Earth training in October.

 

 

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An elder approached me to tell me about how much she loved the conference. She said that for the first time in the 8 years she has been attending she was able to open up and be vulnerable in a brand new way. She said to me: ‘Never in a million years would I have danced by myself in front of 200 colleagues’.

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