Preparing our home: Voices from Indigenous communities.

Preparing Our Home Gathering 2018

Every year, Indigenous leaders across Canada gather together for the Preparing Our Home gathering. This special week is filled with Nation to Nation learning about community resilience practices, cooking together, and laughing together. The participants also get to carve a paddle as a way of connecting to each other and the shared culture of respecting water and connecting through waterways. See more about paddle carving here –

Meet Darlene Munro, Siksika Elder and the first female Chief in Treaty 7 shares stories and lessons learned from the 2013 flood disaster in Siksika Nation. Darlene, who herself was evacuated, started as a night shift volunteer at the community complex and went on to create the Dancing Deer Disaster Recovery Centre to address long-term recovery needs of the evacuees. As a program, we are very fortunate be able to lean on Darlene’s wisdom as part of our Advisory Circle:

Get inspired by this story of capacity building at the Mattagami First Nation told by Councillor and Firefighter Devin Naveau. Within two years, under the leadership of Wilbert Wesley, the Mattagami First Nation has developed an active fire department, regularly trained to fight fires and search and rescue. The department is also responsible for incident response on Highway 144 and responding to events in the neighbouring town.

Watch Councillor Chris Gareau, the Key First Nation share his inspiring career from a small rural farming community to the Canadian Armed Forces to becoming a Councillor in his community: “The most important thing to me for our community is health. Because without heath, what do you have? How do we address the childhood trauma? How do we work together to escape lateral violence that is plaguing our communities with opioid crisis, alcoholism, and the residual effects of the residential schools? How do we move forward towards a healthy future?

Listen as Dylan Dolha, Indigenous Youth Intern, Emergency Management British Columbia shares his wisdom on what emergency management is all about, on why it is important for youth voices to be heard, and why it is important to be prepared.
“Emergency management is about resilience; it is about being prepared for the unexpected.
Youth voices are not necessarily heard or voiced properly in certain settings. Experiencing this workshop really opened my eyes to the importance and the truth and the voices of youth and the stories that they share. Being prepared to anything, it does not have to be an emergency, just having the tools in your hand to do anything in your life will set anyone better for success.”

Watch Kyle Gloade, Millbrook First Nation share his insights on how to connect emergency preparedness and Traditional Knowledge:
“Connecting emergency preparedness and Traditional Knowledge is right in our stories, in our language… If you look back at our stories and what our language tells us about the times of years and different things that go on, it becomes really apparent what we need to be prepared for”.

Meet Michelle Vandevord, a mother, a firefighter, and Manager, Saskatchewan Emergency Protective Services, First Nations Emergency Management. You can learn more about Michelle’s inspiring career in this article:

Watch Alanna Fawn Syliboy, Community Liaison Officer, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq share how she bridges scientific and Indigenous knowledge through two-eyed seeing in her daily work.

Watch Marcellina Rupert Peltier, Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, as she shares her dream to become a paramedic.

When the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq created the Climate Action Emergency Management Officer position a few years ago, it was one of the very first of its kind across Canada. Watch Amber MacLean-Hawes who has been leading this work over the past few years share her perspectives on connecting climate action and emergency management.

Watch Casey Gabriel, a volunteer, an educator, a firefighter, a cook, and most recently the Lil’wat Nation’s Youth Centre Coordinator share his work on developing the Preparing Our Home curriculum at the Xet̓ólacw Community School!

What is it like to live in a community that floods every year? Watch Matthew James McCorrister, Peguis First Nation share his experience as a flood surveyor assistant and a youth volunteer in his community.

Watch Sarah Robinson, a proud citizen of the Fort Nelson First Nation and the Saulteau First Nation in Treaty 8 territory. Sarah is a member of “Preparing our Home” Advisory Group and her talk on “Indigenous Women and the Story of Canada’ was part of #WalrusTalks National Tour kick-off event in Whitehorse, Yukon.

Mia Francis, Akwesasne Youth Council, Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education is working hard every day to support 500 youth in navigating their post-secondary education and careers. Watch Mia share her perspectives on the importance of working together for community well-being: “We all have to become one in order to heal and move forward”. Mia also shares how her radical T-shirt collection empowers her, gives her a voice and sparks important conversations.

Gearing up for Emergency Preparedness week

Watch our program video! Footage by and of the youth in their communities.

What would you do to make your community more resilient?

This video by Kaileigh Taylor starring Leanne John was entered as part of the Global Youth Video Challenge for the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas.

Watch the video:

Filmed on location: Ahousaht First Nation, British Columbia, Canada

Know your hazards!

Watch youth from the Líl̓wat Nation identify numerous hazards that can harm their community during the “Preparing our Home” workshop at the Xet̓ólacw Community School

Watch the video:

Listen to Eric Taylor talk about his community:

Watch Casey Gabriel from Lil’wat talk about volunteering and emergency management in the Lil’wat Nation