THE "TURNING TABLES" TOUR
The themes explored in the film all revolve around identity, and finding the delicate balance between one’s cultural history and their place in modern society. Many Indigenous youth today struggle with that balance, as a generation that has unlimited access online through the internet, yet find themselves extremely limited in the real world. Historically, this is largely due to the isolation of reservations from cities, and lack of resources and opportunities for continued learning.
Joshua’s story is exemplary in that he has proven through his musical career, ambitions, and simply through his existence, that it is possible to come out of a place of limited opportunity and create a successful and fulfilling life.
The tour is designed to bridge the gap in accessibility between Indigenous Youth and role models like Josh. The communities we intend to visit include remote areas with lack of resources such as Webequie, areas suffering from mass youth suicide such as Attawapiskat, as well as a number of First Nation reservations who have expressed interest in hosting Classic Roots but have not had the funds available to make it happen. Bringing subjects from the film specifically to these communities to speak further than the film and engage directly with these youth will provide a deeper connection to the underlying message - that dreams are attainable and there is support to achieve them.
The Turning Tables Tour is designed to address four key objectives; to strengthen Indigenous culture and community, inspire creative confidence, create a positive environment for youth, and encourage self-expression. We intend to reach these objectives through various art-based workshops, including film, photography, music and dance.
The health of Indigenous peoples in Canada is inextricably tied up with their history of colonization. There are several social determinants of health that are lacking in First Nations communities, including access to emerging technologies and availability of community-based resources in support of community living. However, it has been proven that resources that enhance quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. The Turning Tables Tour aims to reach First Nations communities across Ontario that are primarily seen as “high-risk” or are remotely located. The project will also bring photo, video and DJ technology into these communities, where many have not been exposed to it before.
INSPIRE CREATIVE CONFIDENCE
Through engaging multimedia workshops with experienced artists, Indigenous youth will get the opportunity to sharpen their creative skills and experiment with different art forms. By screening the short documentary, the youth will be exposed to a success story of an Indigenous artist who celebrates his culture through art - a story not often seen in mainstream media. The film will inspire the youth by taking them inside the personal experiences of Classic Roots, with whom they will be able to directly interact with later on through his DJ and dance workshops.
CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
Suicide rates for Indigenous youth are several times higher than that of other Canadians, as well as rates for things like addiction, abuse, and school dropouts. This is a primary reason why optimism and music therapy will be weaved into every workshop. The cathartic nature of drumming, dancing, or listening to music will allow an outlet for the youth to have fun and relax. As well, our artist mentors will be speaking about their own personal experiences and overcoming hardships, instilling hope in the youth that there is always a way forward.
ENCOURAGE SELF EXPRESSION
At every workshop, we will have video equipment that the youth will be encouraged to use to share their stories to be featured online. We hope that by giving them access to positive role models, the youth will be reassured that their stories matter, and ultimately reinforce the message that it is possible to look to the future without losing sight of the past.
We have confirmed the support and involvement of We Matter, an Indigenous-led non-profit organization committed to Indigenous youth empowerment, hope and life promotion. Our mutual mission is to create an environment that inspires youth engagement through art and leadership in isolated and rural communities. We will particularly be collaborating through their national multi-media campaign in which Indigenous role models and allies submit art, written and video messages sharing their own experiences of overcoming hardships, and communicating with Indigenous youth that no matter how hopeless life can feel, there is always a way forward.