2019 was a fantastic year for the movement! We are not able to capture ALL of the things we have been up to, but we have selected 19 AYO accomplishments for 2019 to share with you all!
1. Speak Cree now lives at Modern Coffee on Tuesday evenings (all year)
Quinton and our relatives at Modern Coffee invite anyone who wants to speak Cree with us to join us from 6:30pm-8pm on Tuesdays at 191 Inkster. See you there!
2. First full year of 13 Moons Harm Reduction (all year)
13 Moons Harm Reduction is a unique coalition with AYO! and partners doing outreach, developing curriculum and hosting community gatherings that can claim 2019 as the first year it operated for the entirety of the year thanks to the hard work of the peer outreach workers and executive circle. Many changes are to come in 2020 but we can carry the lessons we learned with us as we continue our journey into the good life through this health and harm reduction work!
3. Anishinaabemowin wadiswan (random)
We are honoured to welcome relatives to come together to learn Anishinabemowin in different spaces. Language speakers of all levels are welcome to come and share what they know, or learn what they need!
4. Fearless R2W Field Trips (random lol)
From time to time our activities at Fearless can lead us to take different field trips outside of Turtle Island Neighbourhood centre. this year we had fun wherever we were, be it sage picking or attending provincial/federal election forums we love connecting our families with opportunities to understand how systems affect our lives.
5. AYO works with Save the Children to develop our very own measurement / data system (January)
Following up on work from 2018, AYO was able to connect further dots together so we could eventually have our own measuring system that is strength based and designed for and by urban Indigenous youth. We are pumped to be able to share the results with you in 2020.
6. Lateral Love Networking with 4Rs & A7G (February)
AYO is honoured to participate alongside other Indigenous youth led grassroots collectives from across Canada to attempt to combat the lateral violence in our community with this project of Lateral Love. We were able to come together, share our models of success, stories of struggle and plan ways that we can support each other moving into the future!
7. Powershift/climate action (February)
Several AYO leaders were able to attend the PowerShift Conference in Ottawa this year and participate in a number of actions to raise awareness about the Indigenous voice in the climate movement & speak on how climate change, resource extraction and pollution is effecting us, mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. AYO also participated in the global climate strikes in a number of cities and communities across Canada to emphasize the need to respect Indigenous sovereignty – as doing so would protect mother Earth.
8. AYO is gifted our very own spirit bear (February)
When some AYO leaders were in Ottawa connecting with the First Nations Caring Society, we were gifted our very own Spirit Bear! Now every month we have different activities we can share with our community sober can learn more and take action so First Nations kids are no longer discriminated against by the Canadian Government.
9. Housing Solutions (April)
In April, it was announced that Housing Solutions was selected as a project for the National Housing Strategy innovation grants. Housing Solutions for Indigenous Youth Aging Out of Care in Winnipeg is a community-based project to support the visioning and creation of housing solutions to address housing insecurity and homelessness among Indigenous youth in foster care when they age out of the child welfare system at age 18 in Winnipeg. In partnership with Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, HTFC Planning & Design, Nigaanii Wabiski Mikanak Ogichidaa, University of Manitoba’s Rady Faculty of Health Science, Shift Collaborative, and other supporters such as Fearless R2W. Read more here! As of November 2019, these 14 ideas have been generated with more work to go into refining them in the coming months, concluding in summer 2020.
10. AYO presents to Soaring Eagles Conference (spring)
AYO was able to present once again to the Soaring Eagles Conference, Indigenous youth from across Manitoba were brought together thanks to TJ’s Gift & Frontier School Division for having us!
11. Kale selected for NSI New Indigenous Voices (spring)
In the spring time Kale Swampy, who is already an amazing story teller, was selected as one of 9 filmmakers across Canada for this initiative by National Screen Institute. We are excited to screen all of his future work and have the world see it too.
12. Sagkeeng youth begin organizing (April)
Many young people took some of their ideas, merged them with other youth leaders and some AYO ideas and began organizing events on Sagkeeng First Nation. Follow them on Facebook and support them if you can!
13. AYO goes to Belize (with U of MB) (June)
In June of this year, 2 members of AYO! attended a cultural and educational exchange along with students from the University of Manitoba in Belize! This connection resulted in the Meet Me at the Bell Tower inspired movement Sounding of the Conch Shell to be launched this year led by Maya youth and supported by adults in positions of power and influence in Belize & beyond.
14. Honouring Chickadee Richard at Keeping the Fires Burning (June)
Since before AYO! began, we have been honoured to sit with and learn from amazing knowledge keepers and land lovers like Thunder Rain Woman / Chickadee Richard. This year AYO! was honoured to participate for the first time ever in the Keeping the Fires Burning gala and we were so excited to honour Chickadee.
15. Neech Nights are here! (summer)
We needed a new Indigenous youth organizing creative/supportive space where we can brain storm ideas, network and visit with our peers, so Ron helped debut this safe space. Happening at different times in different public spaces, it is an opportunity for us to organize collectively, ask for help and offer support to one another.
16. AYO documentary released (luminance.co) (October)
Recorded in 2018 but released this year, this documentary features 3 AYO leaders & highlights our work at Meet Me at the Bell Tower, AYO Politix & the Midnight Medicine Walk. Luminance is a Quebec based company committed to documenting social change and the director was Calgary based Max Latimer. Watch the video by clicking here.
17. Non Violent Direct Action Training (November)
In November we welcomed our relatives from the Dakota Nation to our community for a series of trainings on non violent direct action. We were grateful to learn from this and have many of our leaders participate & learn.
18. Sacred Fire @ Indigenous Family Centre (December)
When community members are hurting, we are grateful that we have spaces and helpers who respond to our calls for help. We hosted a 4 day sacred fire for a family in need and are excited to do more ceremonies in 2020 and beyond.
19. Warming Tipis (December)
When the city took down tiny homes donated to our relatives in the street, we called the village together to support our relatives. Now, 2 warming tipis stand on Logan and Henry to keep our relatives warm, offer prayers and connect with other helpers. Shout out to Indigenous Family Centre, OPK, Thunderbird House & all the organization’s and families that are helping to make this a reality.