Helping the youth to heal

Motivational speaker Mike Scott of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan has a created the “Sober is Sexi” social media campaign and will present a talk called “Finding the Warrior Within”

The Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council (YAWC) will host the Gathering of Youth-Family members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Kick Off Event on February 17 to 18. This event is geared to inspire Aboriginal youth to find their voice and channel their challenges or struggles by sharing their stories together.

One thing that became very evident through the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry was that giving the families the opportunity to tell their story is important – and this workshop will give participants the opportunity to support one another, lean on each other and hold each other up. There are currently 42 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in the Yukon.

“Youth from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls families have a story to tell and it is our hope that this event will give them support and influence to share their stories. In First Nations culture the use of oral teachings gives the next generation the knowledge and strength to carry on,” said YAWC President Doris Anderson.

“We hope by giving these youth the opportunity to have a voice in these tragic situations, it can start the healing process and we can grow and learn together from it.”

First Nation youth will gather at Kwanlin Dün Nàkwät’à Kų̀ (Potlatch House) and spend two days learning new tools and resources and start the process of healing through art and film. They will get presentations from local artists, youth groups like The Shãkãt Journal and BYTE and finish off with a presentation from motivational speaker Mike Scott. The Shãkãt Journal will introduce the power of expressing themselves on video. Youth will then participate in a Healthy Minds workshop with BYTE.

Next, the youth will then get a hands-on workshop with local artist Daniel Benjamin Gribbon, a member of the Tahltan First Nation who has been involved with multiple projects around Whitehorse, including carving totem poles and dugout canoes, and creating murals.

The following day BYTE will facilitate a workshop called Right to be Heard, integrated with a workshop called Free the Beat with Yukoner Jeremy Linville, a Tahltan First Nation member. The highlight of the event is motivational speaker Mike Scott who will present a talk called “Finding the Warrior Within.”

Mike Scott is from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, and is known for his honest insight into First Nations culture and history. He openly shares stories of his own transformation and survival – of overcoming addiction and street life – and creating a viral online campaign and a motivational speaker business aimed at helping youth.

He stands by this slogan, “Sober is Sexi,” and has many followers on social media because Aboriginal youth can relate to him. He uses YouTube videos as a way of sharing his story, and uses humor as a way of healing.

He has more than 2,700 followers on his YouTube channel; several of his videos have been viewed more than 10,000 times, and his most popular video has been viewed more than 56,000 times.

“I find it extremely important that our youth’s voice don’t become lost. They should be able to express themselves and be given the chance to be heard. This event is for them, it’s for them to know that we as a community are listening and that we care for their well-being,” said YAWC Youth Board member Felicia Bailey-Cashin.

“We should be giving them a platform to help them honour the ones they’ve lost or are still looking for. Our youth deserve that support where we can lift them up and let them know that they will be okay.”

We hope this event will inspire our youth to grow from their trauma or challenges. It doesn’t have to define them.

We want to empower them so they know they can become strong leaders. The workshop aims to help youth find their voice and give them the opportunity to emerge from their struggles by sharing it and connecting youth from all around so they do not feel alone in their struggles.

The videos will be showcased at a private film screening in the future. We would like to thank the Yukon Government Women’s Directorate for funding this event. If you want to know more about this event, contact us through email [email protected] or call 667-6162.

Stephanie Brown is the Communications Coordinator at the Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council. The Yukon Aboriginal Women’s Council advocates for Aboriginal Women through resources and services in the Yukon and can be contacted
at 867-667-6162.

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