To advance the strategic priority of reconciliation to its fullest potential, the Advocate established an Elder Advisory Council. Stemming from the previous experience of working alongside a group of Elders on our report entitled, Shhh… Listen!! We Have Something to Say!, the Advocate understands the value of engaging with Elders.
In 2020, the Advocate reached out to Elders representing the cultural and linguistic groups in Saskatchewan — Dene, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota, Cree and Métis — who were receptive to forming an Elder Advisory Council. The foundation was set, and through discussions together, the Terms of Reference was created to lay the foundation for working together.
The establishment of an Elder Advisory Council is unprecedented at the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth office.
The Advocate and staff recognize the importance of receiving the knowledge, guidance, and wisdom of the Elders who continue to be key advisors to our work, particularly as it relates to services to Indigenous young people.
To fulfill the office’s priority of amplifying the voices and perspectives of children and youth, and influence systems to improve their lives, the Advocate established a Youth Advisory Council in 2020.
The catalyst for the creation of an ongoing Youth Advisory Council was influenced by our 2019 youth-led, staff supported, conference on the topic of youth mental health, entitled,
Back Now in My Day: Our Issues, Our Voice, Our Time. Some of the youth leaders from our 2019 conference worked with us to consider the possibilities for how such an advisory committee could help inform our work. This resulted in the development of Terms of Reference along with a commitment from a core group of youth who became inaugural YAC members.
The Youth Advisory Council gathers on a regular basis to contribute to our work from a youth perspective — youth using their voice and lived experiences to inform and elevate advocacy around respecting the rights and well-being of children and youth in Saskatchewan.