For Indigenous girls in Canada, it can be hard to make their voices heard. At Girl Guides, we believe that every girl should be valued for exactly who she is. From Nunavut to Alberta and Nova Scotia and beyond, 13 Indigenous Girl Guides recently came together in Ottawa to share their experiences and offer ideas for how Guiding can better support girls in their communities. As Girl Guides celebrates National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), Alice shares her story on the power of connecting with other Indigenous girls in Guiding:
I am Alice Lightning Earle. I am Cree from Treaty 6 and a member of the 1st Leduc Pathfinders in Alberta. I don’t think I would trade this Indigenous girls’ event for any other Girl Guide trip. It was just so enriching and fun. I had thought that there were barely any Indigenous girls in Guiding but it was awesome getting to meet other Indigenous girls from across Canada. We got to learn so much and had time to connect with each other.
While we were there we shared lots of history. We shared our opinions on how we were represented as Indigenous girls in Guiding, and that we should have a bit more representation. Myself and the other girls connected a lot through our beliefs and culture and just meeting other people. Lots of the history shared was about Girl Guides’ past and all of the Indigenous girls that were involved in Guiding, even in Northern Canada.
Some of the other things we learned were stuff about our own cultures and cultures of others, too. We also got to go in our own councils by a council choosing ceremony. In our councils, we discussed our opinions and outlooks for the future of Girl Guides. There were lots of amazing things taught and shared in the councils, because each specific council was unique and did their own thing.
When we were sharing our opinions we talked about how we could change some things to represent Indigenous people little bit. And we talked about how we would like a little more representation. All of us talking and sharing truly connected us. Connecting with each other was really good for all of us as a group and was meaningful to me.
Something else we did were smudge ceremonies which I really think showed us who we really are. We also did different projects, like a slideshow Snapchat, which was really awesome. We took lots of pictures with each other wearing our ribbon skirts or showing our regalia or cultural objects that represented us. It was lots of fun.
I honestly really think that we should have one of these events every year to connect and talk about progress. And while we were all there, all the organizers were amazing. Kudos to Yara, Sahar, Pytor, Saimaniq and Kim for helping out with this whole thing. They really made it fun and meaningful to do. Honestly if we do have another one they should be organizing it again. I really did have an amazing time there with all the other girls – plus it really helped me go out of my comfort zone and actually talk to other people and actually socialize. I am proud to be an Indigenous girl in Girl Guides.
This is a great article. Having been a guider for many years and trying to learn about all the different traditions that every culture has it would be great to be able to set up sessions with our Indigenous members – through Whats App or other like tools to share who we are and where we come from.
My girls (guides and pathfinders)
We have had guest speaker a number of times who shares her history, brings in Indigenous crafts, shares her family history – speaks to the Pow Wows that are held – would love to share this experience with our units again.