CALGARY – A young Mount Royal University student from Morley is getting ready to host the first of its kind national energy summit for Indigenous youth in January.
Cory Beaver, with the help of a peer from the Siksika Nation, is anticipating hosting 200 First Nation, Metis and Inuit teens and young adults to talk sustainability and leadership in climate change.
Beaver said he was inspired to create the summit after he attended his first workshop on climate change several years ago. He said it was “information overload” at first.
“It was overwhelming, but also eye-opening at the same time because I always thought climate change, it’s something that’s not going to affect me, or my generation. But it’s actually an issue that’s very important to talk about and realize that there’s not a lot of awareness when it comes to First Nation communities,” Beaver said.
“What I came out with from that workshop was with this goal to raise awareness about climate change, but at the same time I had no idea how I was going to go about that.”
He attended a few more workshops on climate change and then was invited to attend the 2017 International Student Energy Summit (ISES), a global student gathering to learn and discuss the current issues and trends in energy.
It was there that he pitched his idea for a youth Indigenous energy summit.
The idea was to engage Indigenous youth in climate topics and equip them with the confidence to be part of the larger conversation in the country.
“There’s a lack of Indigenous engagement on the federal level. My goal is to have more Indigenous presence at the table, having more than just one person. It’s really about the bigger picture and that’s how we formed this idea around the summit,” Beaver said.
“This is another way to empower Indigenous communities to work together and talk about owning the agency we once had – living among the land and taking what we needed to survive. You know, we didn’t consume anything, we just took what we needed and that was pretty much it.”
Beaver said he also hopes his summit serves as an example to other youth, both in his home community of Morley and across Canada, that their ideas and dreams can be realized.
“It’s starting a movement in a sense for Indigenous youth and it’s a positive way to move forward with all this reconciliation that is always being talked about,” he said.
The name of the summit is SevenGeneration, or SevenGen, which was inspired by a Lakota prophecy that says the seventh generation is the one that will bring and lead change. It also said that those making changes should consider effects seven generations into the future.
SevenGen will be held at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino in Calgary from Jan. 24 to 27. Visit www.sevengen2019.org for more information, or to register.