From May 15th-May 17th, community members, researchers and NGO’s met in Thompson for the annual Spring Gathering. This year we gathered as a group for large discussions at the Friendship Centre, where key priorities were discussed and stories were shared amongst one another. We also had presentations from Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective, and Sylvia McAdam, co founder of the Idle no More movement. We hosted our workshops and dinners at University College of the North, where participants had the freedom to choose which discussions and ideas they’d like most to take part in during the day. Evening entertainment was provided during dinners by Leonard Sumner and Blain Constant, where we had time to relax and reflect on the days events together. Overall the gathering successfully identified some of the key priorities for the next year for the alliance, and helped us gather a better understanding of what resources may be useful for alliance members in the future.
From the workshops and group discussions we learned that a major priority is for the alliance to provide a space for youth to gather and learn at events, and to provide more resources to youth to get involved with some of the projects the alliance is funding or producing. People also identified additional gatherings or events, similar to the spring gathering or the world water day panel discussion event, as valuable.
Evaluations and discussions provided more insight as to the success of the gathering. Here’s what people had to say:
“I love the idea of meeting on the land.. this is difficult to do, but maybe incorporating the land more. Maybe an activity that encourages more interaction.”
“Only my first gathering but very clear that it has been doing amazing work, demonstrated by support from community and high-level organization”
“Having youth as speakers attend, and discuss how they feel and think from the community”
“Very good event. Lots of knowledge and insight. Awesome on inviting community members and listening to their jokes. This is a much needed outlet and much needed conversations”
About Research Ideas, Questions, and Themes…
“It would be interesting to know how thoroughly the study was done CRD for the ongoing erosion that is still happening to share with the whole group”
“More research on fish and plant life and the effects it has on indigenous health would be beneficial”
“Testing metal contamination and a correlation to cancer”
“The people need healing so it might be worth finding a partnership with a group that can do some healing tours”
“What is the plan for long-term sustainability after the grant is complete?”
“More youth need to be involved, we could have them incorporated into a community gathering”
“I think the alliance well promotes and supports relationships with the land”
“More promoting in the communities, or get more community members affected by Manitoba Hydro to come out to these events Chiefs and Counsellors of affected communities could be invited”