White Buffalo Family - A Photovoice project

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The University of Saskatchewan’s Community Engagement office, Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness (GMCTE) Indigenous Voices project and White Buffalo Youth Lodge collaborated to produce a photo voice project in April 2014. Photo voice projects are used as a tool for communication, self-expression and advocacy.

“White Buffalo Family” photo voice project was through the eyes of youth, ages 8-12, who live in the centre of Saskatoon.

Local artist Marcel Petit shared his expertise with the young participants. Marcel’s photography workshop focused on using the camera in a  technical, artistic, and spiritual way. He encouraged the youth the explore the world around them and really capture how they see life in the core.

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Our facilitators, Omeasoo Butt and Jane McWhirter, worked hands on with the youth throughout the project. Jane worked with the youth both one on one and in group settings to really understand what they felt was important and what should be the focus of the show. Going through all of the photos one by one, participants selected their favourite photos for the show.  

The photos were then printed and ready to be installed in a multipurpose room at White Buffalo Youth Lodge. Clinton, 8, came in and directed Jane and Omeasoo to ensure the photos at various levels. Some photos were for adults, and some were for kids, explained Clinton.

The day of the show, University of Saskatchewan faculty and researchers attended presentations at Station 20 West and White Buffalo Youth Lodge, organized by the Community Engagement Office at Station 20 West and the GMCTE to introduce them to research issues and concerns of Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods (Caswell Hill, King George, Pleasant Hill, Riversdale, and Westmount)  They then enjoyed chinese food and pizza with the kids of “White Buffalo Familly” and the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program director and assistant, Aaron and Sarah.

“White Buffalo Family” featured some amazing photos – you can see some of them here. The young artists viewed their world through selfies, in the car, through excursions with the Boys and Girls Club, and in the natural beauty they found outside their schools and in mud puddles. The close relationships they have with one another and the adults in their “White Buffalo Family” also shone through in funny faces, dances, and portraits of one another. 

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