When asking participants in the Bishop’s Forum about what topics stand out the most from their experience, the answer at the top of everyone’s list is something that wasn’t even originally a part of the program. Four Inuit youth; Victoria Tukkiapik, Aibillie Idlout, Nigel Adams, and Leena Yeates, changed the tone of the forum dramatically by coming as participants and sharing their stories.
“I came here with a message and I’m happy that it’s being heard,” said Tukkiapik, explaining that after she stood up to share some of the things that are happening in northern Quebec during a presentation by former Premier Jean Charest, the community of forum participants took on those issues and brought them up with every visiting speaker that they could. “I didn’t expect this to happen but now it is happening,” she added. “A lot of them didn’t know we exist,” Yeates said, noting that several different people at the forum expressed outrage at the fact that they never heard anything about the realities faced by indigenous peoples in the north in their schools. The four Inuit participants spent the week of the forum working on a call for help. At the centre of the concerns raised in that document is a desperate lack of adequate psychosocial support in northern communities. See full story in the Friday, Aug. 16 edition of The Record.