Inherent Rights Storytelling / Youth and Elders Gathering

Join us for our 1-day virtual Youth & Elders Gathering on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Youth & Elders from across Turtle Island will sit in a virtual ceremonial circle to share their experience and wisdom on governance and our Inherent Rights.

This free program teaches Indigenous youth some of the skills required to become Inherent Rights leaders and community organizers.



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For a second year, the Inherent Rights Youth Initiative (IRYI) will support a diverse group of First Nations youth in an online learning space. Youth will learn to use traditional storytelling and together we will develop a shared understanding of our inherent governance rights and the obligations we have under those rights to rebuild a collective sense of identity rooted in culture, land, language, and spirituality. Throughout our training, youth will be encouraged to share what they are learning and seek wisdom from Elders, relatives, and clan members.


We are seeking young Indigenous leaders to grow the vision for a movement to rebuild First Nations governance. Along this journey, skilled facilitators from the Centre for First Nations Governance and Elders from across Turtle Island will provide storytelling, training, knowledge, and experiential learning opportunities to help us flourish as leaders under the inherent right to self-government.


The Inherent Rights Youth Initiative (IRYI) is working to accelerate nation rebuilding by investing in young people and providing opportunities to develop our leadership capabilities. This initiative will help youth explore cultural identity and enable us to ground our understanding of the inherent right to self-government in our language, art, history, and the land. IRYI is about advancing good governance, language, culture and effective leadership. It is about reclaiming what is inherently ours, bringing together Youth and Elders to develop a new generation of inherent rights leaders.


Storytelling & Training Sessions

September 15 / October 27 / November 10 / November 17 / December 8, 2022

READ THE ARTICLE: September 15 Session: The People

There will be storytelling and inherent rights leadership training held over five four-hour sessions and will begin by providing youth with the background knowledge necessary to research their Nation’s laws, territory, and traditional governance systems. Any remaining topics will be identified to ensure youth get what they need out of the program. As a starting point, the Centre for First Nations Governance will draw on its library of material to provide a foundational understanding of the inherent right to self-government. These topics may include:

  • The Five Pillars of our Inherent Right to Self-Government and the Principles of Effective Governance to Guide Implementation
  • The Legal and Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
  • Visioning Our Inherent Rights and Titles

Youth & Elder Gathering 

January 12, 2023

Building on the Inherent Rights Youth Initiative from last year, a one-day Youth & Elders Gathering will bring together the youth that have participated in the storytelling sessions and inherent rights leadership training throughout the fall. The vision for the Gathering is to provide a space for Nations across Turtle Island to come together and:

  • Lift up young people;
  • Showcase learnings and teachings from storytelling initiative;
  • Practice more storytelling;
  • Participate in more ceremonies; and
  • Advance healing

Connecting Threads

  • Esteemed Elders will journey with the Youth Leaders
  • An online space will enable sharing and learning throughout the Initiative
  • Mentorship by and for youth both within the initiative and in their communities will build confidence and a legacy for youth to carry forward.

The Commitment

First Nations youth are invited into our virtual community to maintain connection with each other, CFNG staff, and Elders between sessions and are welcome to participate in other activities. The Centre for First Nations Governance has committed to convening a space for emerging youth leaders on an annual basis. It is our hope that our group of youth will continue to journey with us as we build a movement for change across Turtle Island and join us in welcoming new youth to the initiative this year. 

The Responsibility

We see the Inherent Rights Youth Initiative as the start of a movement. Each year, we are welcoming a group of young leaders to connect with Elders and mentors along a path to rediscovering our stories, sacred ceremonies, revitalizing our language, learning our culture, reclaiming our identities, and stepping into our roles as leaders in our nations.

The lasting impact of the Inherent Rights Youth Initiative depends on how well our youth are supported in our communities. Leadership has a responsibility to connect with the young leaders in their nation and continue to provide opportunities for learning and growing together.

The Logistics

All Storytelling Sessions and Gatherings will be held virtually. Participants will require access to a computer (with microphone and camera) and reliable high-speed internet. The Inherent Rights Storytelling and Youth & Elders Gathering is free of charge. 


Send your questions to: