The 22nd Grande Prairie Spirit Seekers Youth Conference is set to take place in person, for the first time in three years. Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Executive Director Miranda Laroche says she couldn’t be more excited to welcome people back for the event.
“On Friday we will have the opening ceremonies at Northwestern Polytechnic in the Douglas J. Cardinal Theatre. Mikey Harris is coming and he will be our performer this year. We will also have traditional dancers on stage as always,” she says.
The Spirit Seekers Youth Conference is an event that brings together Indigenous people from age 11 to 29 to celebrate Indigenous culture. Laroche says organizers will encourage Indigenous youth to pursue post-secondary education.
“We’re glad the conference is held at the Polytechnic because it brings a lot of people from the north as well. Those people haven’t been to Grande Prairie and I feel it will help them decide if they want to do their schooling here. We have over 200 youth registered from across the province,” she says.
The Youth Role Model Awards will be presented as well. Blake Desjarlais is the keynote speaker. He is the only Indigenous member of parliament to have been elected to the House of Commons. Laroche says there will be a number of different sessions on Saturday.
“The theme for all the sessions will be around the medicine meal. We’ll have the spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental components for that. All the youth will be attending a session in each one of those components,” she says.
Laroche says the dancers performing at the event are mostly from the local community and one of their partnering organizations, Traditional Paths Society.
“Our traditional dancers are a mix of children, youth, and adults. We will close things out with a feast at 6 p.m. on Saturday,” she adds.
The opening ceremonies and tea dance are open to the public. There will also be a career fair on Saturday, with information on different jobs that are attainable, as well as programs available at the Polytechnic and other programs that are offered in the community. The event runs from March 18th-19th, with the opening ceremonies taking place on Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m. The second day runs from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.