Canadian Roots Exchange

Our awesome delegation! Back row (L to R): Andrew, Caitlyn, Da, Julia, Grace, Jake, Émile, Nick. Front row (L to R): Rachel, Megan, Alissa, Jonathan, Amber. Jenn and Ashley are in the middle!


In February of 2018, SOI brought a delegation of 12 alumni from across Canada and 3 SOI staff members to the Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) 6th National Youth Reconciliation Conference in Sudbury Ontario. The Canadian Roots Exchange Conference annually aims to facilitate dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, and create a space for youth to develop tools, exchange ideas and develop local and national networks to bring their knowledge home.

Truth & Reconciliation and Diversity and Inclusion are core themes of SOI’s expeditions and we are excited to be able to continue to support learning in these areas post-expedition. It’s important to us to be able to pull threads from programming on the ship into and through our day-to-day lives, and to refresh those conversations, especially at conferences like this.

Delegations to conferences such as CRE reinforce SOI’s dedication to supporting youth engagement and leadership opportunities. Delegations provide alumni with opportunities for personal and professional development around conference themes; opportunities to connect and reconnect face-to-face with the SOI alumni community; and opportunities to meet a larger professional network. At the end of the day, expedition is just the first step in this lifelong learning journey!

Caitlyn Baikie (SOI Arctic Youth & Partnerships Manager) and Canada C3 youth ambassador Melanie-Rose Frappier presented as keynote speakers alongside other youth leaders on the opening panel of the conference. Additionally, the SOI delegation team led a workshop, participated in facilitated sharing circles, and created written, video and/or audio blogs post-conference.

This delegation is the largest SOI has ever worked with and we are grateful to be able to learn and grow with our alumni community.


The conference this year is being held at Laurentian University and Science North in Sudbury, ON. The title of this year’s conference is Giiwedinong, which means North Star. On day 1 our alumni attended workshops that ranged from “Reconciliation in the Field of Health Care” to “The Importance of Dance, Song and Ceremony”, and “Sustainable Gardening”. Check out some photos from their experience so far:

Ashley (right) leading a smudge at a closing circle with Julia (left).


Ashley and Émile.


Émile, Julia, Andrew, Alissa, and Jake.


Delegates attending the opening keynote.


Megan and Jonathan.



(left) Caitlyn Baikie, Arctic Youth and Partnerships Manager; (right) Caitlyn and Mélanie-Rose Frappier speaking on the opening keynote panel about how to move forward together in reconciliation and how can we bring our gained knowledge back to our communities.

CBC coverage of the conference.


“Today we learned that laughing is a good healer!”

On Friday our alumni delegation worked on making medicine pouches and watched a drum circle and a round dance.

While the medicine pouch making workshop was happening, there was also a workshop about water and why we should protect it. At Science North participants enjoyed an IMAX film about the history and science behind interpreting stars in Indigenous cultures, and took in the museum.

Other workshops from Friday included “Defining Indigenous Leadership” to “Indigenous Language Retention Strategies” to “Arctic Sports” to “Reconciliation in the Media Sphere: Story of Self”.

As a team, the delegation developed a workshop about the North and Inuit culture, SOI, and shared experiences that is happening Saturday, February 24th.


Ashley making a medicine pouch.


Andrew, Megan, Amber, Ashley, and Nick


Evening program – drum circle (in the middle) and the round dance!




The delegation working on developing their workshop for the next day, all about the North, Inuit Culture, SOI, and shared experiences.


The workshop led by the SOI alumni on Day 3 focussed on the discussion of myths vs realities in the Canadian north. They demonstrated tools for how to help break down these stereotypes and myths, and how to build relationships and foster the exchange of cultural knowledge moving forward. The workshop ended with three break out groups that talked more in depth about Inuit culture, harnessing an alumni network after a shared experience, and starting a project or business inspired by experiences like SOI and CRE.

The rest of the day included closing workshops, debriefs, and sharing circles within the SOI delegation team.

That evening, Ashley and Megan took part in the Talent Show. They learned how to throat sing together that day, and only a few hours later performed their new skill on stage!

All in all, CRE was an amazing and successful experience for the SOI alumni delegation. Thanks for following along!






Rachel, Andrew and Jonathan, all Arctic 2015 alumni, pose for a photo.


The SOI Alumni Delegation to CRE was an eye opening experience for everyone. It was a valuable opportunity for delegates to individually dive deep into self reflection and to together create a pan-Canadian support network around the topic of Truth and Reconciliation. Back at home, these delegates have shared what they learned and turned their experiences into positive impact in their communities.

Learn more about how Andrew, Da and Jake processed the experience in their post-delegation blogs and find a full recap of this delegation’s experience – including what it means to be part of an SOI Alumni delegation – in this exciting video!

February 2018