Wednesday, March 21, 2012

North End Pride (Cleaning Up Our Yards)

Spring is here!

Selkirk Avenue Bus Stop - earlier today
And with the melting of the snow...the entire winter's worth of garbage is sitting there. Right in front of our faces. Many people have a negative stereotype of our community, and think we do not care about it. When I look at so many homes, back lanes and businesses....those perceptions appear to be true. We don't care, if we cannot take a moment to tidy the areas where we live, and where kids play. There are some upcoming community clean ups which we could help with...but what about our own homes?! It only takes a minute to go outside with a garbage bag and clean up the Robin's cups, the chip bags, the cans, bottles and other random papers and throw them away. We can beautify our own little corner of the North End...and if every resident did this...imagine what our hood would look like!

I Did It

Guess what I just did? I went out into my front yard, and outside my fence, and picked up all the garbage. No one paid me to do it. No one even asked me to do it. But because I want to lead by example, I know I cannot ask any of you to do this without doing so myself. And so PLEASE! Help me, and all the other residents who keep the garbage in their yards at bay, help us break the stereotype that we do not care. Help us change the perception that people view the North End piece of garbage at a time.


We got it. So lets make sure the beauty (and cleanliness) of our hood reflects that.



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy 2nd B-Day AYO!

 2 years old!
On March 17th, 2010, 24 young people gathered at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, MB to say, with one voice “Aboriginal youth need meaningful opportunities”. Exactly 2 years later, that small gathering, has come so far. We have initiated and supported many youth driven, youth led, youth created ideas. And while everyone one of them was unique, they all had one thing in common: a belief that we as young people can work together to solve our communities challenges.


I am overhwlemed with emotion as I write this, remembering the faces of those youth, many of whom I still work with today. It began out of love for one another, out of a common sense of history, and especially of hope for what the future can hold for us.


Some of our accomplishment’s include:
  • Creating AYO LEADERSHIP, the driving force  behind AYO with a SHIT model that aims to break Stereotypes, work at reversing Hypocrisy, engaging in Institutions to empower change and to Take our culture back
  • Creating relationships with businesses, organizations & media so that we can truly send our own message to our peers and to the world that we are not apathetic
  • Initiating a HEALING STILL CONTINUES group that focusses on providing cultural opportunities and healing from the challenges our nation & communities face
  • Initiating POLITIX and its corresponding Get Real Youth forums to engage young people in politics and make sure youth’s challenges are addressed
  • Starting CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS, a program that has moved all around the community to empower young people to dream big, and create their reality in a way that makes sense to them
  • Brand new banners on Selkirk Avenue (the first in 20 years!!)
  • Developing and delivering the ARROWS youth engagement strategy not only in Manitoba, but all across Canada (presented in MB, SK, AB & ON)
  • Initiating the North End Anti-Violence movement MEET ME @ THE BELL TOWER which has created an opportunity for our North End to come together and celebrate the beauty that we know lives here
  • working with University of MB & City of Winnipeg & North End schools to support the creation of The FWD North End Youth Newspaper

That’s not everything, but I just wanted to highlight some stuff. In April, we will have AYO’s 2nd Belated Birthday Bash, and all of you reading this, and all of you that helped build this amazing movement are invited to come.


Thank you to the amazing youth leaders who believed. Thank you to the young leaders who shared their audacious dreams, and stood together and made them reality. We haven’t won all of our battles, and every mistake is a chance for us to learn and grow. I just needed to take this time to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYO, I never in a million years thought we would achieve so much in so little time…but we have.

Lets keep going


Can I get an AYO!?!?!?!

With love, respect, humility & courage. 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Happened at MM@BT - Taking Back Our North End (TBONE)

Dear Bell Tower Movement

We braved the cold winds last night for one of our most exciting Bell Tower events yet: 
Taking Back Our North End aka TBONE! 
The theme of the event was food security and we were able to have 3 special speakers (Ian, Margo & Jasmine). We then went into Indian Family Centre where we had our usual prizes portion (cook books, art projects, original Bell Tower Art courtesy of John!!! & a book of Thumb magic). Find below, a video summary of what happened for those of you who have not been, look at ho much fun we have! Come on out, its getting warmer, and we are getting closer and closer to our Dream of 1,000 people @ The Bell Tower.

THANKS SO MUCH TO JACKIE FOR RECORDING ALL OF THESE VIDEOS!! There are plenty of videos in the works: Winnipeg Foundation has recorded a small PSA for us, Chris is putting together a documentary, & Rosanna is going to write an article for the Winnipeg Free Press! Keep your eyes posted, more awesomeness to share will be coming soon :)







As you can see, it is always an amazing time at the Bell Tower and we are excited to continue our work. The next Bell Tower event on March 16th, our theme is SPRING IT FORWARD and we will be celebrating the power of acts of kindness! (share the FB event by clicking here)

Ekosi Bell Tower Fam :)



Friday, March 9, 2012

Why Stop at #KONY??

By now, we all know the story of Joseph Kony. The man, in Uganda leading an army that steals children, forces them to become child soldiers, murderers, rapists and sex slaves. There is a video that has been made by ‘Invisible Children’ with the intention of making Kony Famous so he can be caught by the end of 2012 and brought to justice. The response by the social media world, celebrity world, and specifically the youth world has been huge. Kony has been trending on Twitter, blowing up my facebook and every other method of communication (email, BBM, even in person). Young people and seemingly society as a while, have unified around this cause of atrocities happening in Africa. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the 16,000 charged up young people that were involved in We Day in November 2011. My criticism now, is the same as my criticism then.

Youth Led Revolution

Global activism is important, but we must not overlook the challenges that are happening in our own back yard. For years Aboriginal people in Canada have been the victim of a government and church led systemic genocide. Our children were taken from their homes, our communities shattered, our mother, the earth, exploited for economic gain. The inter-generational effects can be seen in the statistics. We as Aboriginal people make up only 4% of the Canadian Population, and yet Aboriginal people make up 80% of those incarcerated in Federal Justice institutions. The number of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and men is on the rise, with 600 unsolved cases and a lack lustre response from our so called Justice System.

Injustice in Our Own Backyard

We Day and #StopKony, to me, are standards that we as a society are setting. We are displaying a unity that has not been seen on such a large widespread scale, at the very least in my 24 years of living. And while I speak critically of the large focus on this Kony character, I am happy and I am proud that young people are leading the way towards a cause that truly can affect the future for children in Uganda. But my question is this:


We cannot allow this momentum to fall, and we have already displayed what is capable when celebrities, adults, and especially our youth for making this a national issue with celebrities like Rihanna, Oprah and others helping to spread the word. Let us keep going so that, on a global level, we can stop these atrocities against children. Even here in Canada. Shaneen’s Dream (of Attawapiskat) just became one step closer to become real. A delegation of First Nations Children have presented to the United Nations on the atrocities of inequality on Reserves that leads to hopelessness and addiction in our communities. The Crown has taken a small step towards reconciliation with a Crown First Nations Gathering. We as Aboriginal people are caretakers of this earth, not for our own personal gain, but for the benefit of future generations. Even here in the North End, the # of people interested in our Meet Me @ The Bell Tower movement is growing.

It is my hope that this Kony business, and even this We Day business, can not only highlight international causes we can stand behind, but also can highlight the challenges and atrocities that some of us must face every single day of living.

Let’s Keep Going. Together.

With Love


North End MC

My photo
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.