The Saskatoon group got off to a great start this year with an awesome day of orientation on October 14th and a Welcome Party that night which was attended by 16 of the 24 Saskatchewan grads as well as several advisory members and donors. (The event was held at Root Down Worker’s Cooperative Cafe – a venture that was begun by a collective of young people in Saskatoon who have worked for a couple of years to start a vegetarian cafe with an alternative economic model. Bryce Donaldson, who was in Year 1 of Next Up Saskatchewan is part of that collective. The youngest guest at the party was Aurelia Moon, daughter of Roanne Kosokowski, a participant in Year 1 and Geordie Trifa, a participant in Year 2.)
Our first 13 sessions have been awesome! We have discussed Colonization & Decolonization, Poverty, Food Security, Working Inside the Political System, Anti-Oppression, Contemporary Indigenous Issues and more! On November 3rd, we had a special weekend session to learn more about resistance to a proposed nuclear waste dump near Pinehouse, SK with community members & alumni and guests from the Committee for Future Generations in Northern Saskatchewan. On November 26th, Next Up participants acted as mentors for a Civic Youth Engagement project in connection with Saskatoon Open Door Society and Oskayak school. The Next Up participants, students from Oskayak and Saskatoon Open Door Society met in small groups to get to know each other, sat together at a meeting of Saskatoon City Council and then debriefed together after the meeting. It was an incredibly energizing evening where we got to witness younger youth awakening to the political process and becoming more engaged!
On December 17th, we held our Art & Activism session at Root Down which doubled as our holiday gathering. The group heard from presenters Shayna Stock, Monique Blom Metcalfe and Marcel Petit and then had the opportunity to work on a project in small groups with the presenters. One group made a film about youth voice, while the others made a banner and wrote poetry about the Idle No More campaign and Indigenous Solidarity. The Saskatoon group has been energized by and excited to support the growing national Idle No More movement that was born in Saskatoon.