World Indigenous Business Forum 2014!

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The Indigenous Leadership Development Institute Inc (ILDII) in Winnipeg helps organize the World Indigenous Business Forum (WIBF) with a community host in different parts of the world every year. This year it was hosted in Guatemala City at the West Camino Real Hotel in the heart of Guatemala and took place from October 28th – 30th.

The forum’s website states that the forum is a platform that engages Indigenous communities and their leaders in global discussion on economic development issues such as community, industry, academic and government and the varying challenges/successes. The forum operates on the seven generational thinking that provides sustainable prosperity for children and the children seven generations on. The first portion was connecting and networking of indigenous communities and their leaders. The second portion was sharing knowledge and strategies for community development and the third included inspiring diverse speakers from around the globe to motivate future endeavors of economic success.

I had the privilege to participate and listen to the various speakers and it was interesting to see similarities between all nations in attendance such as the hope to alleviate poverty through focuses on investment and financial strategies and the importance to maintain cultural practice to sustain their heritage for future generations. It was very inspiring to see Indigenous leadership participating in this forum through networking, learning and being able to relate to one another. I also believe it was very appropriate and important to have different levels of Indigenous individuals involved in the forum such as individuals at the grassroots level, local Indigenous communities, individuals who owned their own companies and leaders such as the president of Guatemala. It is important to include and engage all members of a community in the dialogue towards economic development for the success of communities in the future and to participate in the learning process toward a better economy with the use of efficiency, effectiveness, self-reliance and sustainability.

I also had the opportunity to showcase the Indigenous hoop dance to everyone in attendance which left me with a sense of pride to showcase and represent my home community and my brother, Jesse Spence, was also able to showcase the grass dance. Youth from Fisher River Cree Nation were also able to showcase their unique styles of powwow dance. I believe we all finished feeling proud to be able to educate all of these different communities in attendance of our culture, dance, songs and ultimately ourselves as individual, unique, proud indigenous youth.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and it truly inspired me and embedded a deep hope that it is possible for nations to come together in peace to learn from each other, grow and help each other toward positive, sustainable economic development. Next year, the forum will be held in the beautiful land of Hawaii. If you have any further questions or would like to become involved in such a wonderful event please visit their website at http://www.wibf.ca. Also feel free to search #WIBF2014 to see a glimpse of this years forum.

Thanks for reading!

West Coast Love Affair

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Traveled up to the West Coast of Canada a few times and can never get enough the breathtaking scenery of oceans and mountains and vast landscapes. I tend to go a little picture crazy. I figured many of you would appreciate these select few, they are some of my favorite shots that I captured while I was there. I have many more from where they came from so just comment below if you’d like to see more.

Travelled Northern Manitoba

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I’M BACK!

Hello wonderful people! I feel like I haven’t written a post in a very long time & that is true so I am sorry for the lack of content & for my foolish unmotivated ways. Anyways… I have a nice adventure to fill you in on!

During the week of July 27th – August 4th I travelled up north in Manitoba with the family. We drove up to The Pas and visited some family in OCN then caught the train to Pukatawagon, Manitoba which consisted of a slow 12 hour ride full of hyper restless children, bone chilling air conditioning, beautiful northern scenery and the fresh smells of the outdoors. Luckily we managed to keep ourselves productive and occupied through that journey. Once we arrived in Puk we met up with more family; cousins, aunties, uncles, etc! During our stay up in Puk we danced everyday at their powwow which took place at their youth center for 3 days. We all felt so grateful for their wonderful hospitality, friendliness, and welcoming arms. We also had the chance to explore the area. Swimming at high rock, shopping at the Northern, driving up to the airport, carpooling to the sweat/sundance grounds and climbing up the Pukatawagon “mountain” and taking in the sights. I felt so humble and proud to meet so many strong women and family members who I am related to and share ancestry (sorry for the cheezyness). After the trip to Puk we headed back down the province to camp for one night in Clearwater Lake at the Guy Hill Residential School Gathering that was taking place. As we approached the grounds we all sat silent through the drive down the long, twisted, eerie gravel road with nothing but brush and solemness as we thought about those young children that were forcibly taken from their families and taken to this place. Some of my relatives attended this residential school which had one of the bad reputations of horrific abuse. My family and I had the chance to learn about local medicines and how to identify them. We also heard many stories that I will forever hold in my memory and we were surrounded by the spoken language of Cree which I was particularly grateful for since I would really like to learn it. After our stay at the grounds, I left feeling like I had the responsibility to keep the memory of these elders and their stories alive and to further educate people on what was on the residential school system and the effects it still has on our communities today. I also left feeling incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such strong, loving relatives and lucky to have had this experience and meet all those people. After we had left, we returned back to some civilization back in The Pas where we went to visit my grandpa who had passed away approximately 4 years ago. It was a lovely way to end our trip and we are all happy to be back on the road to hit back for home. 

After this trip and the entire experience I felt so much more grateful and humble for the experiences I have had in my life so far and grateful for the chance to see, hear, listen and learn from my family, elders and community. I hope to carry these memories far off into the future and educate others on what I have experienced in hopes of continuing the memory and not allowing our important indigenous heritage/culture fade away throughout the years.

I look forward to travelling back up north to possibly teach and host workshops on our culture, specifying on the hoop dance since their was a great interest from the community for that. I also want to find a way to give back to the community of Pukatawagon for everything they had done for us during our stay. I came home feeling a sense of renewal. I captured much more images of our time up north, if you would like to see more just “like” this post or comment down below requesting them! I must just do an extended post to showcase the beautiful images I had captured throughout our trip!

Thanks for reading! Much Love