What is the 4Rs Youth Movement?
The 4Rs Youth Movement has evolved over the past three years as a collaborative, youth-led initiative seeking to change the country now known as Canada by changing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people.
Through collaboration and communication focusing on the 4Rs values of respect, reciprocity, reconciliation and relevance, with the leadership of a youthful advisory body, and the support of 14 National Organizations, in 2015 we made it official and launched the 4Rs Youth Movement.
To change the country by changing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.
Through strength in our identity and unity in our diversity, together we will recreate a country where Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth can all live, thrive and celebrate.
Our theory of change
Using face to face dialogue and learning to formulate strategies for reconciliation that builds relationships for both present and future generations.
With leadership from a diverse group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth and adult allies, 4Rs is tapping into a growing energy and movement that envisions a new way forward for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in relationship with settlers across the land now known as Canada.
In acknowledging and respecting the diversity among Indigenous nations, we also must recognize that within Indigenous nations there are many intersecting identities that impact lived realities. This includes honouring diversity geographically, bi-culturally, in tradition, gender identities and sexualities. In acknowledging “non-Indigenous” people, we also want to respect the diverse peoples and communities living in Canada that are not Indigenous to these lands. This is by no means a homogenous group, and includes many marginalized, racialized communities.
4Rs is carefully supporting and creating spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to come together in conversation. Through experiential training, workshops and gatherings, we are exploring what it takes to build capacity in young people to communicate with one another and build respectful relationships, given the complex historical and present realities that we face. The meaningful collaboration that stems from these connections supports a broader movement; by investing in these relationships over time, we believe that whole communities and systems will also be transformed.
The year 2017 marks 150 years since the founding of Canada. For some, this is a year to celebrate; for others, particularly Indigenous peoples in Canada, it marks at least 150 years of a broken relationship and ongoing impacts of harmful policies and actions. Repairing these relationships must be the focus of individuals, communities, and governments for at least the next 150 years.
4Rs is approaching 2017 as a growing movement of young people who want to meaningfully change this relationship. By bringing together young people from across the country, building friendships and engaging in deep learning together, we see that we do have much to celebrate. By 2017, we want to see a genuine shift in understanding around what it will take to realize reconciliation: as Justice Murray Sinclair has said, “there are no shortcuts.”
“Reconciliation may never happen, but the possibility makes it worth trying” – Mitch Case, Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community
Indigenous youth are the fastest growing population in Canada. It is now more urgent than ever for us to learn how to work together in solidarity to address the disconnect that we see in and amongst our communities.
The past 150 years of Canadian history have been marred by injustices against Indigenous peoples. The recent work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has only begun to uncover the complexity of the intergenerational effects of colonialism on Indigenous people. The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples similarly exposed a comprehensive truth about what has happened in this country and how it continues to affect Indigenous communities.
In order for sustained change to take hold, we as young leaders have made a commitment to making this change happen and have at our disposal intergenerational wisdom and the tools of innovators to ensure a better future. This commitment is rooted in hope and love that we have inherited from our ancestors, and that exists all around us in the land. As young people, we are reaching out to Elders, teachers, and mentors across our diverse nations to support us in rebuilding a country that we can all be proud of.
Experiencing reconciliation together
Throughout 2015, we have been exploring what it takes to create a shared experience for young people to engage in deep dialogue and relationship building. These experiences are intended to support Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to start or continue working in their personal lives and communities to support the broader change we all agree needs to be realized.
Sharing our story
By combining face-to-face dialogue, social media, storytelling, and journalism we are starting a conversation which we hope will translate into action around Indigenous issues in Canada. At the foundation of 4Rs, is a network of national partners that provides a powerful platform to amplify voices and create impact. As we learn more about the complexities of this work, about the issues and conversations that matter most to young people, we will be sharing these stories widely. It is our hope that this platform can be used to re-center the voices that are often unheard: primarily, Indigenous young people. We have an opportunity to influence a different narrative, which we believe is key to a different relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Building a movement
We understand that 4Rs is entering a broader movement for change in the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people as individuals, and between Indigenous nations and Canada. In order to keep the movement growing, we seek to build connections and engage young leaders and allies at the grassroots through coordinated efforts of a national network.