How can we make Indigenous youth feel safe, valued, and honoured in Edmonton? Alongside Indigenous youth, we decided to establish the Turtle Island Project, which is modeled after Wake the Giant in Thunder Bay. Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay report that the Wake the Giant project makes them feel safe, supported, and honoured. They also report that their sense of community, self-esteem, and self-efficacy have grown due to the project. Therefore, we have brought the project here to amiskwaciwâskahikan.
Few Edmontonians understand the historical, social, and political dynamics of where they live; they do not recognize or address the ways in which we continuously harm Edmonton's Indigenous community members. In their daily lives, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people in Edmonton endure systemic and individual racism. This establishes barriers to their well-being and success.
To participate in Turtle Island, local businesses and organizations make a commitment to learn and act to make their space safer. They display a Turtle Island logo decal at their location, which shows their commitment to the community. Turtle Island Safer Spaces are then provided with a Cultural Awareness Package that has education and resources to share with staff, clients, and the community. We continue to facilitate their learning/allyship process in other ways, such as answering questions or connecting them to Indigenous-owned education agencies.
Commitments for Businesses and Organizations
Business owners and staff commit to...
Work to make First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people feel welcome, respected, and represented in this space.
Educate ourselves about issues that affect Indigenous people in Edmonton.
Always address racist language and/or actions when we witness it or when it is reported.
Actively listen to Indigenous people when they talk about their experiences and concerns.
Continuously work and learn in order to make our space safer.
NOTE: These commitments were suggested by Indigenous students between the ages of 13-15.