October 3rd, 2023
Our team is thrilled to introduce our new name and brand and share a bit about the journey that got us here. As of today, Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) is Indigenous Youth Roots (IYR). Indigenous Youth Roots is a name that acknowledges our past as an organization but reflects of our new vision and purpose. Here’s a bit about how this name came to be.
What’s in a name?
Our organization has been in existence for fifteen years, and throughout that time our work has evolved and changed a lot. It became clear to us that we had outgrown our name; we no longer facilitate “exchanges”, “Canadian” is not an identity that all Indigenous youth identify with, and we’ve shifted to focusing on programming, grants, and opportunities by and for Indigenous youth. Our vision and purpose had changed as an organization, and our name no longer fit.
Vision – We envision a future where Indigenous youth are empowered and connected as dynamic leaders in vibrant and thriving communities.
Purpose – As a national Indigenous youth-led organization, we collaborate with communities to provide programs, grants, and opportunities that are grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being and are designed to strengthen and amplify the voices of Indigenous youth.
Why Indigenous Youth Roots?
We are fortunate to have worked with Design De Plume, a women-led and Indigenous owned design firm, on our rename and rebrand. We acquired their support through a robust RFP process. We wanted to ensure our new name and brand was informed by the wisdom of the Indigenous youth that we’re so fortunate to work with, IYR program alumni, IYR staff, and IYR partners.
We undertook numerous engagements including circulation of an online survey, online discussions, and an On the Land engagement session that was held in October 2022. At the On the Land Engagement, we hosted 7 Indigenous youth; Keenan Bird, Maddy Pilon, Megan Dicker Nochasak, Shawntelle Clarke, Alexia Miron, Arizona Commanda- Boissoneau, and Erika Ouellette, Grandmother Isabelle Meawasige, IYR staff, representation from IYR’s BOD, and staff from Design de Plume.
We arrived at the On the Land engagement session with some idea of what we thought our new name would be, but it was the youth that were present who eventually came up with and chose the name Indigenous Youth Roots. Throughout the activities we did together, De Plume encouraged the youth to think about what their involvement in CRE had meant to them and their communities. The theme of roots came up frequently during these discussions. Roots to ground us and keep us strong; roots as a way to connect to our cultures; and roots as a means to connect to each other and build networks of support.
It also felt important to keep a small piece of our old name and honour the work we’ve done to get to where we are today. The engagement process was supported by Grandmother Isabelle Meawasige who led us through Ceremony that allowed us to introduce and welcome our new name.