Riding on Hope - Feburary 2014

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February, 2014

Riding on Hope - Things are Brewing


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Riding on Hope 
The Otesha Project's Monthly Journal
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Sneak a Peak at the East Coast Tour


This thing's for sure: there’s no way volunteer tour members will not be captivated by the stunning landscape on the East Coast Tour. Moving from cliffs, ocean, and river valleys to the lush old growth of Kejimkujik National Park, this group of volunteers will have the opportunity to learn a great deal along the way. 


Tour members will informally share their own knowledge and skill while conversations with experts in Marine health from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, and very useful hands on bike maintenance skills passed off by folks at community bike co-ops will build important foundations. Toss in an ecovillage, a social/environmental learning centre, Canada's first fair trade town, and a slew of things in between, tour members will surely finish the tour with a great deal of new knowledge and honed skills. 


At the beginning of the tour, areas like facilitation, decision making and public speaking are explored, in fun and funky ways, through staff led training sessions in community awareness, facilitation, active listening, theatre for changemaking, consensus decision making, and communicating with the media. 


Then, the lucky ducks get to experience the empowerment that comes with living and moving everywhere by people power, in an autonomous group of experimental sustainability advocates! 


Good news - applications are still open - so if you feel eager to breathe in that fresh ocean air (or know someone else who likes the taste of salt!) while using theatre to start important conversations with communities all over NB and NS, apply here. 

Ride the tides of change across a stunning landscape!

Need some Money? We’ve got Bursaries!

Bridgit Muldoon tour photo (239)
We have awesome bursaries available this year for folks who wish to ride on tour but face economic barriers. We've got the Andrew Wolf Memorial Bursary, and the Cliff Pilkey Changemaker Bursary (thanks Otesha Donors and Unifor!). So if you think money is a barrier to your participation....get in touch!


Blankets used Creatively 

treaty tableau

When KAIROS Canada approached Otesha in 2012 with the idea of a bike tour uniting Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, we couldn't have foreseen the rich partnerships that would grow up. In short order, the resulting Nation to Nation Bike Tour has led us into further collaborations with KAIROS, the Canadian Roots Exchange, the Small Change Fund and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. 


A key piece of our joint programming has been the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, a workshop that stunningly visualizes the loss of the Indigenous lands using blankets spread over the floor and workshop participants playing the role of Indigenous nations. The constant resistance of Indigenous peoples to colonization is celebrated, and the session ends by noting how people can get involved in the leading edge of current struggle. With over 15 years of development and road-tested results, the Blanket Exercise is a premier introduction to why our relationship as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is stuck in a rut and what we can start (or continue) to do about it. 


What is the connection between justice for Indigenous people and ecological sustainability? At the heart of our (often uneasy) coexistence on Turtle Island are agreements about sharing land. The Treaty making processes that underlie Canada's existence as a country are Nation-to-Nation agreements that define the responsibilities of Indigenous peoples and the Crown (later the Government of Canada) to each other. While rulings in the Canadian court system tend to uphold "Aboriginal title", actual policy favours heavy resource extraction that ignores the spirit of the Treaties and imposes long-term costs to local economies and ecosystems (Indigenous and otherwise). No news here -- Otesha's theatre pieces and workshops have always pointed to the ways in which our consumption patterns unravel the very ecological and community connections that allow us to live here in the first place. 


But until non-indigenous Canada can swallow its fears about moving away from a resource-extraction based economy, the efforts of both environmentalists and Indigenous communities will have to focus partly on public education: How many of us realize that Canada's best chance at maintaining its forests, fisheries and food production is to create more room for Indigenous management of their lands? Indigenous communities are well positioned to resist further degradation (culturally and legally) and have been playing a leading role in creating dynamic contemporary land management practices.


On February 9, KAIROS and Otesha are training a pool of 15-20 volunteer facilitators, most of them Indigenous persons, to take the Blanket Exercise to more schools, community-based groups and faith communities across Eastern Ontario. It's our intention that dozens more conversations about our responsibilities to the land will replace tired stereotypes and misunderstanding with renewed relationships that can transform how we share the land, as the Treaties originally functioned.




News From Otesha HQ

Goodbye Austin

flower powerWe would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to our Friendleague and super graphics and web savvy Communications Coordinator Austin. Austin Lui began his O-career as a volunteer tour member on the Phenomenal Food Tour 2012 before becoming a member of the Otesha staff. During his tenure at Otesha HQ, he served outstandingly in both his positions as ChangeLink Program Coordinator and later as the Communications Coordinator. His work has been indispensable to the organisation, and his work ethic, commitment and innovative spirit will be missed very much at the office. So will his Flower Power gun fun shots!


     Peace and Bike Grease,
 Kayla, Matt, Elly, and Cedric



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East Coast Tour
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Tour Members
Any repeat Offenders out there?
Are you excited about the idea of creating another experience of a lifetime? Remember that your fundraising target is 20% less. We'd love to see the strengths and experiences that Olumni bring to the table on tour this year, and we'd love to see you ride in the role of Tour Liaison for added personal leadership development.

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The Otesha Project
404 McArthur
Ottawa Ontario
K1K 1G8

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The Otesha Project
404 McArthur Ave Ottawa
Ottawa, ON K1N 1H5

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