SOI Delegation at Canadian Roots Exchange National Youth Reconciliation Conference

The Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) 6th Annual National Youth Reconciliation Conference is fast approaching and we are excited to announce that we will be in attendance in Sudbury, Ontario with a 15 person delegation! From Thursday, February 22nd to Saturday, February 24th the SOI CRE Delegation will be represented by 12 alumni from across Canada and 3 SOI staff members. This delegation is the largest we’ve ever worked with and we are excited to learn from the diversity and enthusiasm of each delegate.


The Canadian Roots Exchange Conference 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. This is a large part of the dialogue and learning that takes places onboard Canada C3 and Students on Ice expeditions and we are excited to be able to continue supporting this after the ship-based journey has ended. It’s important to us at SOI to be able to pull threads from programming we’ve had 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 (Arctic Youth & Partnerships Manager) and Canada C3 youth ambassador Melanie-Rose Frappier will be presenting as keynote speakers alongside other youth leaders on the opening panel of the conference. The SOI delegation team will be leading a workshop called The World Cafe, participating in facilitated sharing circles, and creating written, video and/or audio blogs post-conference. 

If you’re interested in getting the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a part of an SOI alumni delegation, stay tuned for a great video (and possibly a podcast!) coming out after the conference, and follow along on Twitter and Instagram.


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:

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!


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!






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