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ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is inviting urban First Nations youth who have experiences in the Canadian justice system and/or child welfare system to attend our first SCO Youth Justice Forum on September 19, 2023. SCO extends this invitation to members of SCO Nations who are between the ages of 15 to 29.
“Guided by the seven sacred teachings, our Youth Justice Forum will provide the opportunity for young people to reflect on their experiences, while simultaneously envisioning future programming for youth,” shared Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “Our goal is to develop programs and services that can support healthy and positives choices amongst present and future generations.”
Providing a platform for First Nations youth to contribute to the creation of youth programming, the forum will be a powerful tool to advance reconciliation and address the ongoing colonial systems that are directly impacting young First Nations citizens. Youth will be able to use their newly-formed connections and teachings, facilitated by Elders and Knowledge Keepers, to empower themselves as well as their Nations.
“We know that First Nations youth are overrepresented in both the justice and child welfare systems. They also experience profound barriers when exiting correctional facilities or aging out of child welfare,” stated Grand Chief Daniels. “The Southern Chiefs’ Organization has heard from many First Nations youth that when they reach the maximum age of care or on serving their sentence, they are left to their own devices. It is essential that our youth receive support when leaving these systems.”
Within these systems, First Nations youth also lack the opportunities to learn about their heritage from Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The shortage of programming and cultural connectivity perpetuates colonial systems embedded with overt and systemic discrimination and oppression. This directly correlates to the overrepresentation of First Nations youth within the justice and child services systems.
“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is eager to provide opportunities for our urban youth to use their knowledge and lived experiences to inspire and encourage future generations. Youth have valuable insights and should be included in discussions that directly influence the programs and services that support them. Our Youth Justice Forum provides a way for us to amplify and honour the voices of urban SCO youth,” stated Grand Chief Daniels.
The SCO Youth Justice Forum is a free event. It will provide a culturally-safe space where youth can connect with other individuals with similar life experiences, providing a space for cultural immersion and intergenerational connectivity. Further, it is an opportunity for youth to share their experiences and take part in visioning exercises and sharing circles informing future programming activities.
“It is important to see an increase in support for our First Nations youth who are living in urban centres as they work to transition out of care and to exit correctional systems. I am pleased that the Southern Chiefs’ Organization is focused on developing programs that empower and care for our youth moving forward,” said Chief Kurvis Anderson of the Pinaymootang First Nation.
For more information about the Youth Justice Forum, contact Dylan Peyachew by phone at 204-946-1869 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for the forum and to read more about it, please visit our website: https://scoinc.mb.ca/youth-justice-forum-september-19/
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 85,500 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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