Session Descriptions

Three, one-hour concurrent sessions will be offered on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Conference participation’s will choose from 12 workshop topics. Each of these 12 presenters will conduct his/her session three times during the day at the following times (9:30 am – 10:45 am, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm). Please refer to each facilitator to be kept up-to-date on session availability.

2020 Spirit Seekers Youth Conference Line-up

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Dyami Thomas

Workshop A – “Empowering Your Mind”

Jen Harper Spirit Seekers

Jennifer Harper

Workshop B – Discovering YOUR Why?

The impact of finding your why. A why is like a compass. We learn to live with intention and direction. We then discover our path in life we gain confidence and meaning.

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Marco Caffiero

Workshop C – “Movement is Medicine”

Hello, my name is Marco Caffiero. I am of mixed ancestry, Anishinaabe and Chilean. I was born and raised on Coast Salish territory and currently reside in WSÁNEĆ with my children. In this workshop we will be covering what it means to be “movement warriors”.

I will be teaching participants about different forms of martial arts and fitness
movements from kickboxing, boxing, MMA (mixed martial arts) and Capoeira, a martial art that was created by the indigenous and African slaves in Brazil that combines music, dance, acrobatics, and self defense. I will also share a couple videos, as well as speak about overcoming struggles and boosting confidence through sport.

This workshop is highly interactive so please bring a water bottle. It is my hope to give all participants a new perspective on movements and fitness techniques while having fun!

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Al Crawford

Workshop D – “Connection through Culture”

Al Crawford is a 20-year old Indigenous Male from the Bigstone Cree Nation; Wabasca, Alberta.

Al’s workshop features his experience of becoming a singer. Al expresses how it has helped him in his journey and how the drum helps to promote healthy lifestyles, abstain from drugs and alcohol, form relationships, travel throughout North America and finding his identity as a Nehiyaw Iyisinew. (Cree person)

Al has been recognized as a mentor for young people and has won the award for Culture and Heritage at the 2019 Spirit Seekers Youth Conference. Currently, Al sits on the Treaty 8 Youth Council as a Representative of the Bigstone Cree Nation and is a youth worker for the Mamewpitaw Family Preservation Program in Grande Prairie. Al shares how he found pride, sense of belonging, knowledge and his many wonderful experiences of singing with drum groups such as Blackstone, Cree Confederation, High Noon, Mountain Cree, New Agency, Krazy Stone, and a few other groups.

Al expresses the importance of learning who you are, language, ancestry, other tribal teachings and how he incorporates them in his life every day.

Al has had the opportunity to sing at the Grand Opening of the Rogers Place Arena in Edmonton, AB (GO OILERS) and had the opportunity to sing for Princess Anne of England (Queen Elizabeth IIs Daughter), Minister Carolyn Bennett of Crown Relations of FN People of Canada, etc.

Al aims to inspire, embrace culture, boost self-esteem, gain confidence, and achieve cultural awareness through his presentations.

Al talks about the effect of Residential School in his Nation, and how being a Nikamo-Ino (singer) has helped him decolonize and revitalize the culture. Al believes in being proud of who you are and where you come from, and that all First Nations youth can make a difference by “Connection Through Culture” and that Our Children Matter.

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Natascha Okimaw

Workshop E – Natascha Okimaw

Natascha Okimaw is Treaty 8 Cree woman originally from Edmonton and has been living in Grande Prairie her whole adult life. She is a proud mother of three with her partner of 23 years. She has her Associate of Arts Degree and business administration degree.

She is the cultural navigator for the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Northern Indigenous Health Alliance program. She works with 2 other Friendship Centres and Tree of Creation to provide education, prevention, support and cultural teachings to help remove stigma and increase Indigenous people’s understanding of HIV/AID and other STTBI’s in the northern region

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Clinton & Venessa Soto

Workshop F – “Striving to Achieve Balance while walking in Two Worlds:” Navigating life through living in both mainstream society and holding onto our cultural knowledge and skills.

Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation Band Councilor & Executive Director of an Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Valleyview AB, both resign in Sturgeon Lake Alberta

As an Indigenous people of Canada, we are viable, vibrant and proud people. Today the world continues to change and Globalization is making the world a smaller and more independent place. Socialization education and training well beyond high school are now become necessary for success in the Twenty First Century. How do our children continue to carry their cultural gifts, teachings from elders, values from home, while learning the necessary skills for success in this increasingly complex society? How do we as leaders, parents, community members, friends and teachers help our children to achieve balance as they walk in Two Worlds, come and learn:

  • Transitions from relocating both either on and or off reserves or settlements, how to walk in both worlds.
  • Preparing students to walk in both worlds through understanding and advocating for their own needs to succeed.
  • Breaking down barriers through holistic Indigenous knowledge and world views.
  • Fundamentals of culture and society, by establishing goals and priorities.

Clinton and Venessa are both subsequent generational survivors of the Canadian Residential Schools. They will be engaging participants by sharing their own personal experiences of overcoming barrier and how they changed their paths by continuing to improve not only their own quality of life, also the lives others in their community. Clinton and Venessa both work in careers where being flexible to change, innovated, knowledge seeking and transparency is a curial component in striving to advocate for equality and quality of life for all as they both maintain their knowledge of traditional teachings from their elders.

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Roxanne Tootoosis

Workshop G – “NOT JUST PRETTY RIBBON SKIRTS/SHIRTS:” Reclaiming our rightful places of honor

Roxanne Tootoosis Indigenous Knowledge Keeper/Facilitator, kihêw waciston Indigenous Centre MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta.

Not just a pretty ribbon skirt/shirt! … Ever wonder why people are sporting such beautiful brightly colored attire? At a critical time when Indigenous communities are reclaiming, reviving and reintegrating cultural meaningful ways of reconnecting back to our truths, come and learn:

  •  The spiritual significance
  •  Learn how these teachings came and why they are important to our cultural identity.

Roxanne shares this journey by engaging participants with story, song and sign language that accompanies these creations. She is a part-time student as a candidate in the Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality Program at St. Stephen’s College, U of A Campus.

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Andrea Deleeuw

Workshop H – Share Your Shine Using T8GP.com 

Each of us have gifts, talents, and stories to share with the world. Beginning with Indigenous teachings about gifts and responsibilities, this workshop leads participants through a process of discovering what their gifts are, how they can share their shine using T8GP.com, a website and online community founded in 2019. Participants will explore T8GP (which stands for Treaty 8, Grande Prairie), and how they can use this tool to stay in the loop about fun events in Grande Prairie, gain access to educational information, and use their voice to create social change.
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Marjorie Belcourt

Workshop I – Marjorie Belcourt

74 years young Marjorie Belcourt is a well loved and respected Cree elder from Kelly Lake BC. Marjorie was called to follow her spirituality at the age of 50 and has been practicing ceremonial ways ever since taking those sacred teachings and applying them to her everyday life she remains humble and open to learning, Marjorie is gifted with the ability to connect with those she meets sharing her wisdom with kindness and love.

During Marjorie’s session you will get to know her through her story and connect through circle prayer and song.

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Audrey Mikkelsen
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Lonny Potts

Workshop J – Audrey Mikkelsen & Lonny Potts

Audrey Mikkelsen is a mixed blood Scandinavian – Anishinaabe Kwe, she acknowledges she is a visitor to Treaty 8 lands, as she is registered with Rainy River First Nation- Manitou Rapids band in Treaty 3. Audrey holds certification in the Indigenous Family Support worker program as well as a 2-year Diploma in Indigenous Community Studies both from Camosun College in Victoria, BC. At this time, she is completing her Bachelor of Social Work with the University of Calgary. After working over 20 years in the field of health and human services as a helper, program facilitator, outreach worker and coordinator; Audrey believes Indigenous worldviews, wholistic approaches, and spirituality are essential to human service work. Currently, she works full-time with Northreach Society in the role of Indigenous Opioid Response Coordinator. Audrey is passionate when it comes to learning, she believes we all need someone to learn from and we all need someone to teach. In addition to her formal education, she has made great efforts over the past 24 years to travel and learn from various Elders and Knowledge Keepers throughout Turtle Island.

Lonny Potts is of Nakoda Sioux, Cree and Ojibway descent. He is from the communities of Wabamun Lake and Maskwacis. Currently Lonny works with Alberta Health Service as a newly appointed Knowledge Keeper; this is a new position working with Addictions and Mental Health. Lonny’s passion is working with Indigenous people as a helper, he has a great deal of experience working in the correctional system, as well as working with youth and marginalised populations. His education began in the Concordia College UCEP program where he was named the class Valedictorian in 2002. Since then he has also completed the Community Addictions Training program at Nechi Institute, and Life skills coach training with Edmonton Public Schools. Currently, he is working towards degree completion in Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Lonny also recently completed facilitator training for the ‘In Search of Your Warrior’ high intensity violence prevention program, a federally recognised program offered through Native Counselling Services of Alberta. For the past 24 years, Lonny has traveled near and far as a dedicated Elder’s helper, learning from numerous Elders, he believes culture is the root of everything and where we need to return to. He is a champion pow-wow singer, hand drum singer and enjoys sharing his gift of song and culture with people everywhere.

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Linsay Willer

 

Workshop K – Walk of Pride

Walk of Pride is an interactive self-esteem building workshop that focuses on stepping outside of your comfort zone, learning job interview skills and walking with pride! You will learn the tools needed to be successful in any career choice or life path you choose. This is a fun workshop that incorporates games and music.

 

Workshop L – Len Morissette

*Workshop Description TBA*