Indigenous Canadian Youth:
Thank you for creating artwork to exchange with indigenous youth in Canada!
Feel free to use the following resources if you'd like to teach your students about the children and culture of First Peoples communities (especially the Pikangikum) while they create their artwork.
Most people may not know that First Peoples in communities across Canada are living in desperate circumstances; many have no access to potable water or electricity/heat, live in overcrowded and isolated areas, and have parents and grandparents who were severely abused through a residential school system that experimented on and stripped a generation of their culture. This results in unimaginable conditions for the indigenous youth today, and teen suicide rates are at epidemic levels.
We are honored to be partnering with an incredible Canadian organization dedicated to empowering these overlooked indigenous communities. The artwork each child creates will be based on the idea that we are all "stewards of the earth", that we were put here to take care of our planet and all of its creatures--one of the most important ideas in indigenous culture. Read more here.
In this exchange, you will be swapping artwork with children from the Panginkum community, a "fly in" (isolated, with no roads in or out), which was labeled the suicide capital of Canada. This exchange will not only build friendship across cultures, but it will give the Panginkum children an artistic outlet for their hardships, make them feel seen, and show them that people all over America care about their wellbeing.
"The River Flows", a song written and performed by Pikangikum youth
This song outlines some of the struggles faced by Pikangikum and other aboriginal youth around Canada, and how they are trying to reconnect to their heritage and the earth in order to move forward.