Okanagan Land-based Environmental Leadership Camp 2017

Reconnect, Revitalize, Reclaim: Okanagan Land-based Environmental Leadership Camp, held June 10-17, 2017 at Glimpse Lake, British Columbia, Canada, gathered Indigenous youth aged between 18 and 30 who are interested in building their capacity to advocate for and protect the lands and waters of their territories. The camp took place at Glimpse Lake, on Syilx territory (Upper Nicola Band), co-organised by Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) North America and IndigenEYEZ, an Indigenous youth empowerment organisation based in the Okanagan with years of experience working to positively transform relationships to self, community, and the world. The camp was organised with the support of the Upper Nicola Band and the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

Read a detailed report by lead facilitators of the Camp, and an update on GlobalGiving by Susannah McCandless, GDF North American Program Coordinator.

Our Goals

  • Explore the meaning and importance of environmental leadership through the arts, cultural teachings, activities on the land, group discussions, and mentorship from key resource people.
  • Create a space for young emerging artists and environmental leaders in the Okanagan to connect, deepen relationships, form networks of support, and plan future collaborative activities.
  • Provide participants with concrete skills, teachings and resources that will allow them to become more effective land advocates.
  • Provide participants with artistic mentorship and land-based workshops that explore connection to land, self, and purpose.
  • Think collectively about how art can be used to assert presence on the land.

Our Approach

Our approach to the camp blends GDF’s and IndigenEYEZ’s respective strengths and methodologies for social and environmental change. 

IndigenEYEZ uses the Creative Community Model, a proven social innovation that empowers individuals and communities to make personal and social change. The Creative Community Model was developed by international non-profit Partners for Youth Empowerment who share their method and curriculum with partners around the world, and IndigenEYEZ has adapted this model for a First Nations context. The process focuses on individual identity, group learning, group formation, and social change. The experience of being part of a creative community of mutual support has a transformative impact. Participants have opportunities to explore their strengths and their gifts.

The Creative Community Model in action at an IndigenEYEZ facilitation training. [Photo by Rup Sidhu]

GDF’s North America team brings years of experience convening and facilitating knowledge exchanges for Indigenous community leaders, and in Indigenous communities. GDF employs a peer-to-peer learning methodology in which everyone is recognised both as a teacher and a learner. Participants and workshop leaders all bring the gifts of their diverse knowledges and skills, and together explore creative solutions to socio-environmental issues relevant to Indigenous communities.

Comcaac elders share their reflections and youth work on a mural at NACELE 2017. [Photos by Inanc Tekguc]