This Indigenous, youth-led organization is strengthening its community using Anishinaabe philosophy

Georgian Bay Anishinaabek Youth develops its programs based on inclusion, accessibility, and knowledge-sharing

Why It Matters

A strong sense of belonging builds community resilience, which has been vital during COVID-19. This is especially true for Indigenous communities, facing already-existing inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. As organizations move towards recovery and look to improve their services, they must centre inclusion — something that is integral to Anishinaabe thought and philosophy.

This story is in partnership with Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

In 2019, more than 200 people gathered to create a birch bark canoe in Parry Sound, Ontario. Overseen by Kyla Judge — Indigenous Youth Coordinator at Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR) and Georgian Bay Anishinaabek Youth (GBAY) — the birch-bark canoe was created by Indigenous youth, and named Oshkinigig, loosely translating to ‘The New Ones’.

Founded in 2018, GBAY is an Indigenous youth-led initiative. Through intentional experimentation with its grassroots programs, the organization creates safe spaces for Indigenous youth to build strong community and cultural connections, and to see themselves as stewards and protectors of the land.

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