In late May, 2006, three trainers from the Ruckus network journeyed up to Edmonton, Alberta, CAN to meet Arctic Youth who had journeyed down from the Northwest Territories. This meeting, called by the steering committee of the Arctic Indigenous Youth Alliance, was a rite of passage for this group of young people living on the northern front of the climate crisis.
Since 2003, when founders Elaine Elexie and Jennifer Duncan met at a Circumpolar Conference and decided to take up this humongous struggle, the group has been gathering information and providing it to their peers and communities up and down the contested path of the MacKenzie Valley.
At this gathering, Ruckus was asked to bring one of its newest curricula – organizational development strategy sessions. These youth, representing 6 communities, renewed the vision of the organization, set goals and clarified roles and engaged in the hard work of powermapping. Before the week was over, the group had shared all the pieces of its history, what the current challenges were, and why the foundations of trust and love were so important in the work of invigorating culture and preserving their heritage against all odds. The group changed their name to Arctic Indigeous Alliance, because they recognized that their work will have to be multi-generational, drawing on the wisdom of their elders while utilizing the analysis, energy and bravery of the youth.