Otesha Project A\J AlternativesJournal.ca Photo: The Otesha Project

A\J is partnering with the Otesha Project to cover two of their 2013 tours: Nation to Nation and Pedal to Plate. This post was written by Nation to Nation tour member Nawaaz Makhani as the tour wrapped up. Check out A\J's photo essay from the Pedal to Plate tour and watch for video coming soon.

It’s nearing the end of the first ever Otesha/KAIROS/Akwesasne Nation to Nation Bike Tour, and the same question is circling each participant’s mind: “What do we do next?” Luckily, the tour organizers prepared for this, and lined up speakers and workshops to help us with this question. Here are a few of the movers and shakers I think will help us on our post-tour journeys.

District Chief Brian David

District Chief Brian David is well versed in Aboriginal and Mohawk history, culture, traditions and values. He is passionate about bringing justice to his community, and believes he will see major changes in his lifetime that will improve the quality of life for those in Akwesasne. One of the main reasons for this is that he is often involved in discussions with the Canadian government as a representative of Akwesasne. Chief David actively seeks opportunities to build bridges with people and communities and engage in a mutual exchange of knowledge, traditions and hope. He has been a crucial part of the Nation to Nation Bike Tour and even met up with us in Kingston.

Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE)

Members of the CRE dropped in for a visit with our group. The CRE vision is to create lasting dialogue and friendship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada through exchange programs, conferences and workshops. They have a network that reaches across Canada, and they strongly hold to the ideal of equal participation from Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. They strive to uphold this “50/50” split of Indigenous to non-Indigenous participation in their conferences, workshops and staff population. There is a lot of momentum building with this young organization. We recommend getting involved with them in any capacity possible! Check out the Canadian Roots Exchange website.

Jonathan Maracle – Broken Walls

Jonathan Maracle graciously invited us to his home for a fireside conversation. The unique thing about this dialogue was that he used music to share his journey. Jonathan is passionate about breaking the walls that have been built between First Nations people and settlers and this led to the establishment of Broken Walls. Broken Walls tours the world sharing this passion, healing the hearts of those angered by injustice and inspiring others to break down their own walls. Be sure to catch their performances as they tour.

Connecting with people and organizations such as those mentioned above will be essential for all of us on the Nation to Nation Bike Tour and anyone who wants to learn more about how we can live together peacefully and respectfully.

The 2013 Nation to Nation Tour is a pilot project launched by KAIROS and The Otesha Project, in collaboration with the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, aimed at enabling tour members to learn about our responsibilities to each other and to the earth, and to gather the courage and skills to live them out. From July 27 to August 14, a passionate group of intercultural youth volunteers rode their bikes 300km along the St. Lawrence River from Akwesasne to Tyendinaga in order to learn from the communities they visit and from each other. Along the way, they facilitated a theatre-based workshop to raise awareness of the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. You can read more blog posts from tour members on the N2N Tour Blog.

The Otesha Project is a national youth-led charitable organization that uses experiential learning, theatre and bicycle tours to engage and empower Canadians of all ages to take action for a more equitable and sustainable world.

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