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Good Heart, Good Mind Conference: Connecting with Indigenous Youth

May 25, 2017

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In February, Animikii Thunderbirds Jeff Ward and Dakota Lightning had the chance to volunteer at the Good Heart, Good Mind Youth Conference put on by our friends at the Indigenous Youth Wellness team.

The conference took place on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people in Vancouver from February 15-17th; conference attendees ranged in age from 18-24 and came from Communities all around BC. Good Heart, Good Mind was a coming together of Indigenous youth from across the province to talk about the various ways in which they engage with activism in their home Communities.

The primary goals of Good Heart, Good Mind, were to: firstly, remove barriers for any interested BC, Indigenous youth to come together to build practical Community organizing skills and leadership like public speaking, web design and filmmaking, and also to provide a space for youth to share the ways in which racism and colonization impact their lives and their Communities. Indigenous Youth Wellness was able to cover all travel and accommodation for all participants to help remove the financial barriers sometimes associated with attending events like these. 

On behalf of the Animikii team, Jeff and Dakota provided a skills workshop on website development at the Conference. The purpose of the workshop was to empower the participants to create their own websites right there during the workshop. The workshop started with an overview presentation on the core technology and building blocks of a website. Jeff and Dakota also talked about the importance of understanding your website audience and creating sites that your audience will respond to. Dakota and Jeff reviewed Animikii’s approach to website design and shared some of the best practices we keep in mind as we work on client projects.

From a participant: “At the Good Heart, Good Mind Youth Conference I attended the web site workshop run by Jeff Ward and Dakota Lightning. In this workshop we were each given access to a web template using our own password. The template gave us the freedom to choose and create our own unique web content. For myself I chose to create a website about dogs by using the tools and steps made available by the template framework. I found this workshop to be informative, useful and interesting. The instructions were easy to follow and the facilitators were helpful.  This workshop made creating a website simple and fun to do.” - Cassandra B. (Northern Tutchone).

DakotaWorkshopGHGMAll conference participants had the opportunity to create a personal or professional site using a custom, Animikii-developed demonstration theme. The site template was built to be easy to customize so that participants could focus on design and content without the presumption of prior coding knowledge. Each participant left the workshop with a personalized website template site, but more importantly, each participant left the workshop with the skills and understanding needed to continue to refine and develop their site on their own. Participants are encouraged to reach out to Animikii at any time for support with their site or for help to launch it. Several participants have expressed interest in continuing to build their sites; two of the youth participants were creating sites for their own creative enterprises - one was a YouTuber and the other, a musician!

Animikii is always looking for ways to help Indigenous youth engage with technology and entrepreneurship. We were happy to work with our close partners at to provide this skill-based workshop. We look forward to working with any youth from the workshop who want to continue to build up their personal or professional website. Animikii donated time to this event as part of our 2017 Giving Back program; if you have questions about the ways in which we give back to Indigenous Communities and people, check out our 2016 Social Impact Report or reach out to us at

Article published April 25, 2017.

May 25, 2017

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