From many of the Indigenous youth I have worked with over the years, stepping into my workshop is their first hands-on experience on how to use professional equipment. I am always astounded at the speed by which most students adapt to technology and begin to express their ideas with a camera or microphone. Establishing a safe and respectiful learning enviorment is the first step. Empowering a person to create expressions of their ideas for the first time is a privledged position for me and one that I take to heart. Friendships and working relationships forged during these sessions have lasted a lifetime and strengthened our communities of emerging Indigenous artists.
The frenetic energy of a Sweetgrass Road youth program or a concentrated learning situation of any kind can be a challenge. But the results go far beyond the artistic or aesthetic achievements realized by the participants when you become aware that for many, this is a rare moment in time for them to entrust others with their true feelings and expressions in a safe supportive environment. A good portion of the time is spent in sharing circles and verbalizing feelings. The workshops emphasise the relavence of Traditional Knowledge in a contemporary world. Through this highly accredited program, articipants acquire the tools that help them to access their cultural voice and express themselves through their projects.