Sunday, May 29, 2011

Neechie Pride (CCELD Day 2)

If you identify with the term 'Neechie', can I get a WORD?!?! I had 3 moments today where I was so proud to be Neechie. For those non-Neechie readers, the term is a casual one used by Aboriginals used to reference other people of Aboriginal descent, generally in a positive way (according to the Government of Canada, the term Aboriginal refers to the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people of our land). So where was I...yes, 3 moments:
  1. Opening Welcome: We were able to hear from a beautiful woman from the Algonquin Nation who gave us a blessing in her Neechie language. She mentioned the importance of sharing gifts, and made reference to the beauty and the balance contained within our Medicine Wheel. It literally brought tears to my eyes.
  2. MCQ (aka the Question I asked at the first speaker): I am always loud when I go to these things, because I feel like I need to represent. When I looked around the conference, I didn't see a lot of young people, and to date, have yet to discover a Canadian on this trip that is Aboriginal themselves. Anyway, out of my usual duty to represent, I asked a typical MCQ (Michael Champagne Question) at the discussion on Leadership. I asked the panelists: what role do you see youth playing in making decisions that affect them? I believe our actions speak louder than words, and so there really wasn't an answer that was gonna make me any happier about my current situation. The summarized answer, is it is youth's role to act as translators and info receptacles so that they can train the older generation how to deal better with us younger ones. I like it!
  3. Hoop Dancing Plus at the Museum of Civilization: OK, so today, we went and checked out the Canadian Museum of Civilization, designed by the awesome Douglas Cardinal, and were treated to some entertainment in the Grand Hall (after we toured the Canada Hall). This entertainment was a group of amazing Neechie (Aboriginal) people. There were some drummers there named Bear Spirit and dancers from several different groups. I was SO happy to see the familiarity of grass dancing, jingle dress dancing, fancy shawl and hoop dancing! I even got to see some new stuff though, because I was not familiar with the Smoke Dance that comes from the Mohawk people. It was an amazing experience that reminded me of being home (woa am I ever feeling homesick today...).
So anyway, that was the official opening of the conference. It was great to hear from speakers talking about Leadership, Economic development, sustainable social growth and then some! Tomorrow I get to check out Parliament Hill and then will head off to Newfoundland. I am exhausted.

Love & Respect (to all my neechies, and the non-neechies too)


PS - Just for the record, this is a super amazing opportunity that I look forward to sharing. Not only in sharing the experience with all of you blog readers, but also I hope to get involved in this 'Commonwealth Study Conference' Alumni thing where I get to hook up other young leaders with amazing leadership development and international opportunities.

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North End MC

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Representin the North End of Winnipeg since 1987. I will share my journey tryna set an example and live a proud Cree life. I'll include my challenges and feelings and progress in terms of AYO! Aboriginal Youth Opportunities. You(th) are the reason.