Since partnering with Feathers of Hope in 2011, the initiative has grown in ways I had not known were possible. This First Nations youth advocacy and dialogue project brings together young people from across Ontario to talk about their experiences and present ideas to decision makers at all levels of government around how to address the inequities they face, and it has garnered some massive wins.
The first forum resulted in the Youth Action Plan, which puts forward numerous policy recommendations, many of which have been or are being implemented. The second forum focused on First Nations youth experiences with the justice system and resulted in the Justice & Juries report — a comprehensive document on racial profiling, systemic discrimination, and the impact of colonialism on traditional systems of justice. A key recommendation from that report — that juries of cases involving First Nations people must have First Nations jurors serving on them — is being incorporated into policy. Two more forums, on the child welfare system and culture & identity issues respectively, will be the inspiration for innovative advocacy tools. Finally, Feathers of Hope is now serving as the youth wing of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
I’m incredibly proud of the collaborative design work we’ve done with the Feathers of Hope Youth Amplifiers and Youth Advisors. The FOH feather, medicines, and pictographs have appeared on books, banners, presentation slides, hoodies, toques and more. In the face of all this growth, we created this identity standards manual to tell the story of Feathers of Hope and assist the many designers and production artists who will work with the multitude of pieces in this ever-evolving brand.