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Feathers of Hope’s original members pass on reins

Thursday June 26, 2014
Photo by Stephanie Wesley

Kathryn Morris, Uko Abara, Talon Bird, Karla Kakegamic, Samantha Crowe, Sarah Nelson, and Savanna Boucher at the Feathers of Hope open house that was held in Thunder Bay. Boucher, one of the four new amplifiers, is “really excited about creating change.”

The Feathers of Hope youth group held an open house at the northern office for the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth where they not only welcomed guests but also four new youth amplifiers.

Kathryn Morris, one of the original youth amplifiers for FOH, said that the four new amplifiers would be carrying on with the work that she and the previous FOH amplifiers have done.

“They’re the ones that carry on the job that me, Uko, Samantha, Nicole, Julaine started,” Morris said. “Me and Sam are moving into that mentoring role.”

Since FOH’s inception over a year ago with a spring youth forum, the group has released a report based on the results of that forum. The report is based on the voices of more than 160 First Nations youth from 64 remote and fly-in First Nations communities across northern Ontario.

They have also created a DVD that can be found inside the report.

“The video has been shown across Canada,” Morris said. “We’ve been to many events, we’ve been invited to speak at many events. We went to Saskatoon for the AFN Youth Summit, the Yukon.”

Samantha Crowe, another original youth amplifier, added that the group was just at the Truth and Reconciliation Education Day as well.

Morris said that she was happy to see so much happen with FOH over the last year, and that she and Crowe would be taking on mentoring roles and focusing on the actual change with leadership.

“I’m going to be focusing on creating change with the leadership as opposed to when I first started,” Morris said. “I was there with the young people bringing their voices to the leadership, now I am going to be there with the leadership.”

Morris said that it felt like she and her previous fellow amplifiers at the northern office were “handing over our baby” to the new amplifiers.

Karla Kakegamic, Talon Bird, Sarah Nelson, and Savanna Boucher are the new youth amplifiers with the northern FOH sector in Thunder Bay.

Boucher said that she first heard about FOH after being followed by the group’s account on Twitter.

“I started seeing Feathers of Hope everywhere,” Boucher said. “I really wanted to know what it was.”

Boucher was informed by a friend about the job and she jumped at the opportunity.

“I wanted to be involved for a long time,” Boucher said.

Nelson, a member of Couchiching First Nation, also heard about FOH through social media.

“I think it was a Facebook share,” she said. Nelson was also a note-taker at the spring forum.
Bird, who was also on the FOH youth advisory committee, said that he first heard of FOH through all of their promotional work.

“I heard of Feathers of Hope after all of the promotional work the amplifiers were doing. They reached out to the communities, they reached out to one specific community – Whitesand First Nation. I happened to see them there.”

Kakegamic said she heard of FOH through Facebook and she also knows Julaine Trudeau. Kakagemic said she looks forward to working for the youth.

“I am very excited about what they have to say and the new forum,” Kakegamic said.

Bird said that he is looking forward to carrying on the legacy the previous FOH amplifiers have implemented, as well as interactions with the youth.

Nelson is looking forward to planning the forums and implementing the actions.

“And just being that mode for the youth to speak up about what they really want,” said Nelson. “I feel like my last job as the intern for the city for the Respect Initiative has really prepared me for things. It was a lot of presentations with students and other people and professionals.”

Boucher said that she is excited about creating change as a FOH youth amplifier.

“I’m really excited about creative change. We’ve all experienced it, the social issues, and the impacts on our lives. I really want to change that and to change it for my own children and other youth,” Boucher said.

Feathers of Hope will be planning a child welfare forum for next spring.

Crowe explained that the issue of child welfare was brought up in the first youth forum, but that the group felt it was not discussed enough to elaborate on or address the issue.

“We want to make sure we are working on what the young people are saying in the forum,” Crowe said. “Once again, we will be doing the call out to young people, and different service providers.”

Morris said that she is glad she is able to stay on with FOH.

“I’m glad I am able to keep on with the project and be a part of creating change,” Morris said.

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