Where the Rivers Meet is an iSMSS educational initiative through the fYrefly in Schools. This program focuses on bringing culturally relevant teachings based on indigenous ways of knowledge. Where the Rivers meet first began in 2015 and was a project that grew out of the need to address systemic discrimination and create specialized programming catering to the lived realities of Two-Spirit, and LGBTQ+ Indigenous youth.
What Programs & Services Do We Offer?
Our program goal is to uplift and empower Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous youth. In order to do this we have to empower entire communities to build structures of support around these youth.
This program uses traditional knowledges and teachings to focus on building tools for Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous allyship and advocacy with Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) youth, their schools and their communities at large.
Our workshops help to:
- reduce discrimination against sexual and gender minority youth,
- increase awareness of the impacts of homo/bi/transphobia,
- integrate local knowledges and teachings into allyship and advocacy practices
Where the Rivers Meet delivers workshop plans that offer support on a multitude of levels: peer- to-peer education for youth (between the ages of 14-24) both within the school system and outside of it (such as group homes, youth drop-in centres, and others!), professional development for educators in the school systems, and for frontline / support staff in social service and child welfare environments.
This style of workshops are designed to follow the teachings of the medicine wheel with each section focusing on bringing the whole community into the conversation. Each of these groups of people are instrumental to the health and well-being of Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous youth. It is our belief that it takes a whole community to raise a child and that awareness and advocacy needs to happen at every level.
We work primarily in the Edmonton region but are expanding to serve indigenous communities, schools, and organizations all across Alberta. We also offer some professional development training for those adults who are looking for ways to support Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous youth.