Public speaker and community event organizer Cody Lookinghorse wishes there had been more youth-centred events focused on keeping a good mind when he was growing up on Six Nations. Lookinghorse, now 24, is making sure Six Nations’ youth today aren’t going to go without.
Lookinghorse organized an event called the “Gathering of Good Minds” at the Gathering Place by the Grand to create a space for youth to share stories, inspire one another and learn different ways to heal from intergenerational trauma and other factors that may cloud a good mind.
“We spoke about topics such as mental health, healing, language and a lot more,” he said. “I wish I had something like this when I was a young teenager because I didn’t have many good role models in my life,” said Lookinghorse, speaking to some of his own experiences. “I want to be a good man and have good men in my life and I want that for other young people too. There is such thing as being Indigenous and a good Native man.”
River Rockz and the Ohneganohs Water Project hosted the July 27th event that saw performances and sessions from Jordan Mowat, Victor Lopez, Eryn Wise, Keyhew Gopher and Semiah Smith. Lookinghorse emceed.
“I’ve been wanting to bring events like this to my community for a long time,” said Lookinghorse, a sought-after public speaker. “I wanted to give back to my community because we really all do and should support each other at the end of the day. And I love to see when community shows up for you.”
Lookinghorse handpicked the speakers and performers for the event to inspire Indigenous youth to find where their interests may lie and find their niche.
At the peak of the event, there were roughly 50 heads who came out aged 12 to 28, which Lookinghorse said was a great turnout for the first event he has put together in his name. One of the lessons he hopes people take away from the event is that it’s important to give back to your community and participate in what’s available.
“I want young youth to know it’s OK to give back to your community and you won’t be judged for it,” he said.
Lookinghorse said it’s important to have more events like this on Six Nations because you never know what someone is going through.
“Deep hurts and intergenerational trauma. Loss of family,” said Lookinghorse. “You never know what someone else may be going through. I know that as a young Indigenous man living on the reservation can be hard and I feel as though simply meeting someone new, or seeing a familiar face at an event like this could lighten your day in a way that you weren’t expecting it to.”