The Aftermath of Couchiching


I recently was honoured to attend a National Institute on Public Affairs…Couchiching. It was the first time I attended, and also the first time in the conference’s 82 year history that the central focus of the conference was Indigenous people & Canada relations. I was wanting to keep people posted all along the way with “CouchLogs” but apparently you can ‘run out of tape’ on the website soundcloud so I only got until Friday night.

Initial Thoughts Upon Arriving Home

I got home and was exhausted. It was an exhausting and cool opportunity to bump brains with some very high profile people and also some up and coming movers and shakers. On an individual level, I was extremely happy that I had made the personal connections with some very special people…who I believe in and who believe in me. I am excited to follow up with these individuals and continue the work that we discussed this weekend. I also feel like there are some cool opportunities on the horizon for AYO! Leaders to begin to share our experiences with other youth groups across the country and make international and institutional connections to the local actions that we focus on. I am also grateful for the generosity that was shown to me in medicines, sharing of accommodations and personal commitments to action.

The Aftermath

However…it was not all positive. In hindsight I am frustrated that we had so many influential people in one spot,for such an extended period of time and our main intent was “conversation”. There was no Action Plan, and there is no real mechanism (outside of individuals who take the responsibility to do so) for us to follow up and ensure that steps are in process to affect the change we talked about. The basic premise of how I have felt in the last 2 days is that I am no longer interested in incremental change. And even in the time that I spend locally, in my neighbourhood and city, I want to know that everyone who is around me is really doing everything in their power to create opportunity and positively influence changes in every way we can. I cannot handle the thought of us wasting any more time talking. I know that it is important to listen…but I cannot help but want ACTION. I am tired of talking and want all of us to act.

Your Responsibility

If you read this…you are responsible. you cannot un-know the things you know, and you cannot unlearn the lessons in your head. So it is our responsibility to act and ensure that we are walking with integrity…and treating one another in the same way we expect these institutions and corporations to treat our mother the earth. I feel pretty restless…and crazy…and enraged. Join us, please.

More Couch thoughts are to come….Check out the #couch8thfire tweets to see what is up

Video of 7th Generation Panel


2 thoughts on “The Aftermath of Couchiching

  1. Powerful post and powerful video, Michael, thank you for sharing your testimony.

    I look forward to your further thoughts as you slowly digest the intensity of the experience.

    Being a survivor of many intense gatherings, all I can say is~ keep breathing, keep in touch with the many you connected with who did share that gathering, and keep writing.

    I hope you allow yourself time to absorb and learn in the aftermath of the conference, in the same way that you were open to the words and energies that passed through you during the days and nights of the gathering.

    Keep writing, keep sharing your insights, there are many of us who did not attend who are deeply interested in your words..

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