Indigenous youth participating in Gathering Our Voices 2019, held March 19–22 in Port Alberni, took inspiration home with them following a packed closing ceremony at Alberni Athletic Hall on March 22.
All Nations Strong Women for Education and Reconciliation (ANSWER), featuring Elder Jessica Sault of Tseshaht First Nation and women from seven other nations across Canada, performed several songs to open the closing ceremony.
Shayla Stonechild, a television personality with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (she co-hosts the television program Red Earth Uncovered) and yogi, led the crowd with some movements while talking about the matriarch movement.
Jack Saddleback, a Cree two-spirit transgender gay man from the Samson Cree Mation in Maskwacis, Alberta, talked about growing up as a genderqueer child and how the Cree language has words—and acceptance—for people who live between male and female genders.
The Kiixin drummers and dancers from Huu-ay-aht First Nations in Anacla performed, inviting audience members to join them in a dance around the gymnasium floor.
Winners from the BC Indigenous Youth 3C Challenge were introduced, and provincial Indigenous Youth Awards were presented as well.