This story was originally posted on Passport 2017.
A significant portion of Canada 150 Signature Initiatives will focus on increasing awareness of and opening dialogue around truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities. Perhaps the most important and far-reaching of these efforts will be the 4Rs Youth Movement’s Possible Canadas project. With a goal of fostering capacity to support reconciliation among young leaders in their own communities, the project will see local, grassroots gatherings spring up in 10 locations across the country. “It’s about having dialogues and conversations that really promote our values of respect, reciprocity, reconciliation and relevance,” says Jessica Bolduc, executive director at 4Rs.
The organization will be harnessing the power of “young influencers”—community leaders between the ages of 18 and 30—who will implement a vision for how they see these dialogues happening in their individual communities. “It could be an event that’s about experiencing art or theatre or dance together, and then cross-cultural conversation will unfold from there,” says Bolduc. “It’s about bringing those voices and these perspectives into different spaces that they occupy.”
Having the support of some of the country’s most influential organizations doesn’t hurt either. The project is backed by the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the YWCA, the YMCA, Pathways to Education, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada, the Boys and Girls Club Canada, the J.W. McConnell Foundation, the Inspirit Foundation and the Counselling Foundation of Canada—to name a few.
A second tier of Possible Canada events will happen on a national scale, with four events in major Canadian centres. Two will take place in Ottawa—the first from May 11-14 in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, and the second on June 20 in collaboration with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at Rideau Hall—with a third event still taking shape in Winnipeg.
Whether national or local, the goal of these gatherings is to give Canada’s next generation a way to join the conversation and become empowered to effect change. “It’s young people who will be the ones implementing the policies and programs and directives that are being created in this present time,” says Bolduc. “We should be a part of creating that vision because we will be the ones responsible for implementing it in the future.”
Follow the 4Rs Youth Movement on Facebook.