Photography workshops teach Indigenous youth to speak with vision – The Globe and Mail

Keegan Shawana focused his camera on the ridges of his shoeprint in the snow, and pressed the shutter-release button.

“[It’s] me leaving my mark in this world,” says the 23-year-old Toronto resident from Manitoulin Island, Ont. “Me leaving my footprint, saying ‘I was here.’”

The snapshot was among many that Shawana and his peers took at a recent workshop in Thunder Bay, Ont., part of a province-wide project that teaches Indigenous young people how to use photography as a medium for storytelling. The project, called Stories from our Roots, aims to provide them with a way of expressing themselves, and to spark discussions about the issues that are important to them.

“This project is not just to shine light on the different [traumatic] things that our Indigenous youth have to face, … it’s also happy things and empowerment, and reclaiming their identity,” says Richelle Ritchie, a youth representative with the Ontario First Nations Young People’s Council, which is spearheading the initiative.

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