New Statement from the Six Nations Youth Reclamation

In the spirit of the Kainerakowa, the Great Peace, we, the youth movement of the Six Nations Youth Reclamation would like to share with you, our community, the spirit of our movement. It has been nearly 2 months since we began the site, and since then there has been a lot of confusion and questions  Through this statement we hope to acknowledge and address these concerns.

We believe that by rediscovering and using existing traditional Haudenosaunee structures and processes of conflict resolution, intervention, community accountability, building/maintaining community, mentorship (aunties/ uncles/ brothers/ sisters), healthy relationships, etc. we can rebuild our nations. THIS needs to be the foundation of the youth center. This is about much more than building a youth recreation centre, this is about creating a safe space to heal and rebuild our nations through the youth. All the while making it a fun and exciting experience.

We also believe that we have to respect that every youth that comes to this space is at a different place in their life and have their own story, wants and needs. Because of this, we are not forcing other youth to conform to fixed standards. Instead, we are supporting each other exactly where we’re at.

We Are Here Because:

  • The coming generations DEPEND on us to be here creating change, learning, growing and healing as individuals, clans and nations.
  • We are following in the foot steps laid before us by our ancestors and elders.
  • There is a crisis in this community.
  • Those of us here are a community and family
  • We want to learn
  • We need to continue building a safe supportive space
  • We want to play and have fun
  • We need to keep this movement going

We all know there is a crisis in this community that is deeply rooted in the history and trauma of our people. This crisis  has a foundation in years of genocide, alcoholism, addiction and abuses of our women, children and elders. Being here for the past few months has only brought these problems out into the open for everyone to look at. Even though we have seen and had to deal with this disturbing reality daily, we have stayed because we have also seen the beauty and strength of our people through the youth. We have seen each other learn, grow, make mistakes become empowered. We have seen the positive effect this has had on us, even those of us that are stereotypically “bad youth”. For us, to go home is to become complacent in our own neglect and abuses. To go home is to take countless steps back from the progress we have made with ourselves, each other and our community; we depend on this site.

In order for us to have a healthy community for ourselves and generations to come we all must take ownership of this crisis. Therefore, what we are asking is for the women of this community to fulfill their responsibilities as care takers of the children and youth. We are asking the men to be our protectors. We are asking our elders to give us guidance and knowledge. We as the young people of this territory are ready and willing to begin learning our roles and responsibilities. We know that this is a difficult task however together we are strong, capable and can accomplish this.

What We’ve Done Since the Site Began:

  • Community & Nation building
  • Making mistakes and learning
  • Provided a 24hr safe space & drop-in for youth
  • Providing a daily food program
  • Provided homeless youth & adults safe shelter
  • Daily crisis & suicide intervention/prevention
  • Daily Violence prevention/intervention
  • Daily peer-counseling/support 24/7
  • Created a youth support network
  • Youth empowerment and confidence-building
  • Leadership building/training
  • Assisting each other in putting safety plans together
  • Providing options for youth in crisis including referring them to community youth services if they so choose
  • Developed personalized anger management skills
  • Provided court support
  • Provided homework & school support
  • Building life skills with the youth
  • Using humor and play as a part of healing
  • Supporting and encouraging sobriety and sober living
  • Setting goals for our community and ourselves
  • Working towards building living, healthy relationships between elders and youth
  • Fundraising – BBQs, Yard sale, Trading (provide services for community members in exchange for food/supplies)
  • Providing programming that meets the needs of the youth present at the site: Socials every Friday, movie nights, game nights, storytelling around the Fire, teaching social songs/singing practice, medicine picking, gardening, swimming, fishing, break dancing workshop, sports (lacrosse, football, basket ball, hack-e-sack)
  • Supporting other youth & community initiatives/events– Not 1 More Youth Dance, SOBER/Kanata community social, March against CAS, (carpet) Tashina General’s family in court, Youth Graduation ceremonies, Bill Montour’s Social, Canoe Club, Band Council Youth Meetings, Community meetings, Community garden, Six Nations Girls Lacrosse fundraising social,
  • Met & shared with youth and elders from other communities such as Oneida, Tyendinaga, Algonquin territory, Toronto, Hamilton, Fort Erie Friendship centre, California, etc.
  • Teachings on the history of Family violence and the effects of colonization
  • Discussions/teaching healthy sexuality/safe sex
  • Discovering the needs of and building the foundation for a youth centre

What We’re Currently Doing:

EVERY THURSDAY & SUNDAY 6pm Youth Meetings

We now have our general youth meetings twice a week to discuss and make decisions on the direction of the Youth Reclamation. Topics include future events at the site, everyday activities, day-to-day “housekeeping”, future action, upcoming community events, etc.

EVERY FRIDAY  4pm Community Open House

We will be starting to host an open house every Friday at the Youth Reclamation Site for the community to come by, ask questions, see the site, see our progress on creating a youth centre plan, hear our stories, and see how we can support each other.

EVERY FRIDAY 7pm Youth Social

We have a traditional social every Friday, put on by youth from the site. Come by and share in our potluck, laughs, and dancing.

Future action

Confederacy Council – August 6th

We will be presenting to Confederacy Council to inform them, get their advice and look at ways of working together.

Meeting with Ambulance & Fire Department – August 8th

There have been many concerns brought up by the Ambulance and Fire Department about the sacred fire we’ve kept at the site. Due to the confrontations that have happened over this, we are working to resolve this peacefully by meeting & finding solutions.

Meeting with Band Council

On Thursday July 21st, Six Nations Elected Council served us a Band Council Resolution that was unanimously passed stating that we must vacate the Old Police Station within 48hrs or we will be removed by forced and charged. We have no intentions of giving up and leaving the site but we still wish to resolve this situation peacefully. Therefore, we have been working with Elected Chief Bill Montour to have a meeting, share our purpose and concerns with the Band Council and negotiate a solution.

Youth Centre Plan

While meeting with Clan Mothers and elders we have been instructed to write a plan for the use of the building before using it. So, we all have been working our hardest to take our experiences, views and ideas and finalize this plan. The plan will be made public.

Inspection of Old Police Station

It has been alleged by Band Council that the Old Police Station is unsafe with the possibility of mold and other contaminants. However, this is simply assumptions with no professional inspection ever done. Therefore, we have found people in the community that will inspect and clean the building for free – we are simply waiting for community support in this endeavor.

Support needed

It’s extremely important for the success of this movement and for the health and growth of our people that we support each other. Every person in this community holds a piece of the puzzle, so lets support each other. If there are things you need help with let us know so we can work together to build each other up. For us, we have spent our time here compiling the wants and needs of the over 70 Youth that have been here. The following is an OPEN list of programming ideas we have been creating.  If you feel called to, we need people who can assist us in teaching and getting the supplies to carry out the following on a daily basis.

  • Poetry writing
  • Excerpts of the Great Law
  • Poetry slam competition
  • Dream Catchers & Beading
  • Hunting, Fishing & Archery
  • Surrounding area youth events/conferences/gatherings
  • Sports: football, basketball, Dodgeball, lacrosse, softball
  • Theatre class
  • Visual art & sculpting
  • Medicine & berry picking
  • Water drums & rattle making
  • Explanation of the condolence cane
  • Language
  • Ceremonies
  • MMA/kickboxing & self defense
  • Working out/fitness
  • Healthy/safe sexuality
  • Young parenting
  • DJ workshops
  • Rights of passage
  • History of our people
  • Confederacy – how it works
  • Traditional songs
  • Break dancing
  • Go carting
  • Ding ball
  • Movie/documentary nights
  • Gardening
  • Lil-games: Red Rover, Freezetag, hid n go seek, icebreakers, Tug of war
  • Survival camps
  • Know your rights (legal)
  • Roles of men, women, clan, nation

Physical Support Needed:

  • Water & food – non-perishable, frozen meat & cooked meals
  • Tents, picnic tables, chairs
  • Generator & cleaning supplies
  • Flood lights, lamps, candles, etc.)
  • Wood & Firekeepers (24/7)
  • Rides (to visit elders, to events, get supplies, get ppl home, etc.)
  • Bug spray, first aid kits, etc.
  • Bristol board, paint, markers, flip charts, calendars, clocks, etc.
  • Medicines & spiritual support
  • Emotional & mental support – someone to talk to
  • Ppl to hang out & laugh w/around fire
  • More youth & elder organizers

For more information visit us at the site or contact Kahsenniyo at 226-388-9831

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Posted on August 5, 2011, in Community Development, Indigenous Struggles, Youth Struggles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on New Statement from the Six Nations Youth Reclamation.

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