Embracing Shades of Action

"Empowering Indigenous Girls and Girls of Colour to take action within their communities"

Workshop Facilitator’s


Janet Rogers

 Q: Give the participants a snapshot of what your workshop going to be about?

A: Creative writing as an act of empowerment. We will explore, share and discuss words that best describe “ourselves” as young women, as women of colour,  our visions of ourselves and how we are precieved in western society today. Through two spontaneous writing exercises, we will create new writing on an individual basis as well as a collective collaboration.

Q: What is a memory you can share about yourself between the ages of 13-17?

A: Between the ages of 13 and 17, I remember filling any blank moment I had jotting down my thoughts, journal-style. I remember this act was very satisfying for my fingers. My hands love to be busy writing. In so doing, writing became my own therapy or way of organizing the chaos that I was feeling and going on around me.

Q: What does the term cultural identity mean to you?

A: Cultural identity, when accepted within yourself and when we understand it completely in terms of who we are (culturally) can be worn as a badge of honour. I don’t believe anyone can be and should not be colour blind. Creator made us different colours so we can see beauty in others.

Q: What are you most looking forward to on the day of the event?

A: Creativity, inspiration and sharing!

BIO:

Janet Marie Rogers (Victoria Poet Laureate 2012 -2015)

writer, poet ,spoken word, radio host

Janet is a Mohawk/Tuscarora writer from the Six Nations band in southern Ontario. She was born in Vancouver British Columbia and has been living on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Victoria, British Columbia) since 1994. Janet works in the genres of poetry, short fiction, spoken word performance poetry, video poetry and recorded poems with music and script writing.

Janet has three published poetry collections to date; Splitting the Heart, Ekstasis Editions 2007, Red Erotic, Ojistah Publishing 2010, Unearthed, Leaf Press 2011.  Her 2nd poetry CD titled Firewater 2009, gained nominations for best spoken word recording at the both the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the Native American Music Awards.  You can hear Janet on the radio as she hosts Native Waves Radio on CFUV fm and Tribal Clefs on CBC fm in Victoria BC. Her radio documentary “Bring Your Drum” (50 years of indigenous protest music) won Best Radio at the imagaineNATIVE Film and Media festival 2011. She was also commissioned to create a radio art piece by the same agency that same year.

Ojistah Publishing (Mohawk word for star) is Janet’s publishing label. ikkwenyes or Dare to Do is the name of the collective both Alex Jacobs (Janet’s poetry partner) and Janet started in 2011. Through the collective they produced a poetry CD titled “Got Your Back” a collection of live and studio recordings. ikkwenyes plans to invite more artists into their collaborations and create more projects that promote the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture.

To learn more about Janet visit: www.janetmarierogers.com

Carol Bilson

 Q: Give the participants a snapshot of what your workshop going to be about?

  A: Strengthening Young Women through Cultural Resistance: Understanding and Resisting the harmful effects of Colonization on young Indigenous and Racialized girls

We will be holding a unique learning space for young Indigenous and Racialized girls to discuss  Colonization and how it effects their beliefs about themselves, their culture, their people and their homelands. As young women we are often told that we are ‘the keepers of culture and the backbone of our communities’ but how do we keep true to that cultural knowledge in the face of a dominant Western society, and more importantly, how do we use our culture to resist violence and assimilation. This workshop will be in talking circle format and allow girls to affirm their cultural practices and strengthen their understanding of the harmful effects of Colonization. We will be also looking at cultural acts of resistance by Indigenous and Racialized girls and will conclude with a small ceremony and look at how we as Indigenous and Racialized girls can resist violence and assimilation today and now.

Q: What is a memory you can share about yourself between the ages of 13-17?

A: “As a little girl I was always very proud of my culture and my people, unfortunately growing up in predominantly White society none of my values or cultural beliefs were affirmed among my friends, peers or society. As a youth, all I wanted to do was ‘fit-in’ and so my pride and values became less and less until they were barely there. However, at the age of 15 I read the autobiography of Malcolm X and I soon realized that if I didn’t protect and strengthen my language and culture I was going to lose them all together. That book ended my desire to ‘fit-in,’ re-sparked my cultural fire and it have been burning strong ever since.’’

Q: What does the term cultural identity mean to you?

A: For me my cultural identity has always been the collection of my land, my people, and my language. As a young woman my culture was my refuge, the place I went to when I need to feel safe, happy and connected. As I grew older and came to understand that my culture was not only a place of belonging but a place I could draw huge strength and power from. Coming from a people that had been politically and violently attacked I saw my culture become a vehicle for resistance. Our traditional Music became our voices of resistance; our Art acted as a witness to the violent crimes committed by the State. Our communities united to create communal kitchens and we help feed and clothe each other; our pots and pans became our noisemakers at protests and rallies. Our dances became symbols of our missing and murdered family members. To me, my cultural identity is my strength and the symbol of my people’s resistance to oppression, violence and assimilation.

Q: What are you most looking forward to on the day of the event?

A:What I am most looking forward to in this conference is sharing and holding space with young inspiring Indigenous and Racialized girls. I look forward to sharing and learning stories of cultural resistance and providing the girls with new tools and skills to navigate Western dominant society.

Bio:

Carol Bilson – I am a Mestiza woman (Mapuche/Spanish) from the Andes, I have been living in the diaspora since 1976 after a violent military coup exiled my family. A year later, my family immigrated to Turtle Island where I was raised on traditional Blackfoot Territory in Southern Alberta. I completed my BA in Political Science and went on to work extensively among the Blackfoot, Cree, Métis, Stoney and Tsuu T’ina Youth as a Life-Skills and Leadership facilitator. I came to WSANEC, Coast Salish Territory in 2009 to finish my MA in Indigenous Governance. I am a visitor here along with my partner Curt and two children, Juliette 7 and Santiago 14 months old. Personally, I have always believed in and advocated for making space for the inherent Cultural knowledge and power of Indigenous and Racialized Girls. I strongly believe when young women root themselves in their Cultural identities and ‘traditional ways of knowing’ they are more able to positively deal with the ill effects of modern Colonial society.

Olivia Keane

Q: Give the participants a snapshot of what your workshop going to be about?

A: This fun, interactive, and educational workshop is called “UNLIMITED” and is geared towards helping young women realize their full, even limitless potential in health and in life! Topics will include simple, effective fitness and nutrition principals, healthy body image, self esteem, confidence, motivation, stepping outside your comfort zone and pursuing your dreams!

Q:What is a memory you can share about yourself between the ages of 13-17?

A:  My fondest memory was participating in dance, music, and art at the Victoria Chinese Public School. Going to Chinese school gave me a strong sense of culture, belonging and purpose.

Q: What does the term cultural identity mean to you?

A: Cultural identity helps people understand themselves and where they have come from. It helps people to accept, understand, and appreciate differences in others around them.

Q: What are you most looking forward  to on the day of the event?

A: I am most looking forward to connecting with other girls and sharing inspirational ideas!

Bio:

In a nutshell, Olivia is:

  • a passionate health and wellness director for Keane2BeFit and VictoriaBootcamp.ca
  • a teen mentor for self-esteem and healthy body image
  • a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and lifestyle consultant
  • a speaker
  • in love with educating others on authentic health and well being
  • on a mission to help as many people towards higher self-awareness and personal development

For as long as she can remember, Olivia has been driven to empower people; especially women, to thrive and shine from the inside out so one’s full, even limitless potential can be realized. She loves to connect on a genuine level and has always known her life’s purpose has been to help inspire positive growth and self-esteem in others.

Olivia has witnessed firsthand how lives can be transformed for the better when the mind and body are taught to work in harmony. She enjoys the opportunity to help her clients improve their confidence and quality of life through the greatest gift of all; one’s health. Olivia will serve as your teacher, your motivator, and your confidant. Consistency will be required of you to maximize your success, but she will be there to encourage you every step of the way. Together, you will work towards creating the life you’ve imagined!

To learn more about Olivia visit: www.oliviakeane.com 

Yolande

Q: Give the participants a snapshot of what your workshop going to be about?

A: It will be a fun way of learning the characteristics and cultural trends of hair!  Natural styling and products are vastly growing in the beauty industry, which can make it difficult  to find what works best with your hair. This interactive workshop will include finding your texture and form, as well as what would work best for your hair in every season and styling trends. Look forward to seeing you there girls!

Q:What is a memory you can share about yourself between the ages of 13-17?

One memory is moving from a housing project to a suburban area, and trying to find a comfort zone. It was very hard for me to adjust being a minority and coming from a different lifestyle.  It gave me time and motivation to learn and accept more about me as a person.

Q: What does the term cultural identity mean to you?

A: Cultural identity can stem from so many different aspects living in Canada. I view Canada as a multicultural melting pot, but still having a cultural identification internationally no matter what.

Q: What are you most looking forward  to on the day of the event?

When you find yourself and what works for you in your teenage years, your adult years make so much more sense to you.”

Bio:

Yolande was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and comes from seven generations of black loyalists. She moved to Victoria in 2005 and has had her multicultural hair studio Who Dyd Your Hair since 2009. She is a licensed hair dresser and an educator for Design Essentials hair line, that travels from Victoria to Vancouver and Seattle to teach classes on hair.

To learn more about Yolande  and Who Dyd Your Hair Check out: http://www.whodydyourhair.com/index.html

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