Photo courtesy of Northlands College

Students from schools across the north will descend upon Northlands College in La Ronge for two days of storytelling, celebrating culture and learning holistic wellness. It’s all a part of the Vibrant Roots Youth Conference, which is being put on by the college at the JRMCC on Wednesday and Thursday.

The conference will bring students together to hear stories of strength, perseverance and also the importance of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness.

It will feature teachings and storytelling from some of Saskatchewan and Canada’s most talented Aboriginal people.

Jordyn Burnoff with Northlands College says they have been able to bring in some well-known entrepreneurs and leaders that students can relate to. She says Devon Fiddler, Jack Saddleback and Madeline McCallum will be the keynote presenters over the two days.

Fiddler is from the Waterhen Lake First Nation. She is a social entrepreneur, and the founder and chief change maker of SheNative Goods Inc. SheNative’s primary products are handbags and accessories, but Devon’s ultimate goal is to generate awareness, empowerment and altered perceptions of Indigenous women and girls.

Saddleback is a mental health advocate and former president of the University of Saskatchewan Student’s Union. McCallum is a model, actress and pow wow dancer and motivational speaker.

Burnoff says the theme of the conference is: “With balance and passion, we can all succeed.” She says the main focus is to utilize the holistic model of the medicine wheel and show the students what a balanced lifestyle would look like.

“We wanted to use that a model for success,” said Burnoff. “When your life isn’t in balance, it can throw other areas of it off.”

She says Northlands College will also be talking about the programs they offer to students, whether it is in the education field or in health and how that can lead to success.

According to Burnoff, about 180 students from communities across the north have been invited, and although not all communities have confirmed, she says organizers are still expecting a great turnout.

Along with the educational part of the conference, students will also see performances by pow wow groups, a local band called the Churchill Garage Band and there will also be a fashion show.

Burnoff says students attending will be able to take some teachings and cultural awareness back home to their schools and communities.

“We invited speakers that can relate to the students and the kids can say ‘I can do what they are doing and they are living amazing lives and they are successful and doing positive things to promote culture,’ so we hope that can inspire students to follow in their footsteps,” she added.