Voice

Fresh Voices from National Seminar

Thank you !

Today is my last day. It was an honour to have served as SEDA’s Executive Director for the last five years. What was valuable to me, was working with young people; challenging them to think, speak, and to consider, while remaining kind and respectful. We only get that when we listen to each other and think together. It was a privilege to see them discover their voice and grow in confidence.


Working with Fiseko and Lindsay, and our team of young people leaves me hopeful that SEDA will continue to make meaningful contributions in the midst of these uncertain and polarizing times. So many things have changed, and our September is different. It is more important than ever to get wisdom, insight, and to speak humbly and truthfully.


Debate should make us reasonable. The work we do in creating space for crucial conversations makes a difference. Thank you for allowing me lead and share in this work.


One last time - Words are powerful.

Truly, death and life are in the power of the tongue.

Let us bring life and build bridges with our words.


Melissa Ong

Outgoing Executive Director

Orange Shirt Day

"Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion. As spokesperson for the Reunion group leading up to the events, former student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad told her story of her first day at residential school when her shiny new orange shirt, bought by her grandmother, was taken from her as a six-year old girl."

Learn more about why we wear orange shirts on September 30th at www.orangeshirtday.org

2020 CSDF National Seminar: Making the Calls to Action a Reality

Coming together across the six time zones of Canada, sixty-one students, coaches and teachers intentionally gathered for the 2020 Canadian Student Debating Federation (CSDF) National Seminar to learn more about reconciliation.


Seminar participants were honoured by the knowledge shared by Elder Frank Badger, a survivor of the residential school system, who entrusted us with his story of resilience and healing. Additional speakers and teachers included John Lagimodiere, Dion Tootoosis, Sherry Van Hesteren, Chante Speidel and Brian Casey.

The seminar provided an opportunity for young people to learn, discuss, and recognize the gaps in their education, and understanding of the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Chante courageously shared her experiences as a young Indigenous woman standing up against ignorance, discrimination, and racism.


SEDA understands the National Seminar as a space to learn, gather young minds, and explore what is possible when youth are given the opportunity to speak and lead. These discussions and seminar have left us confident in the future that these young leaders will create for us all.


Thank you to all our participants. Merci beaucoup! See you in 2021 for the National Seminar which will be hosted by SEDA once again.

Reflections from National Seminar

Cette fin de semaine, j'ai eu la chance de participer au séminaire national de débat étudiant. Le thème du séminaire cette année était: «Réconciliation: faire des appels à l'action une réalité». J'ai eu la chance d'écouter plusieurs présentations. Il y en avait sur l'histoire des Premières Nations depuis la découverte de l'Amérique, comment les traités ont été établis et comment ils affectent les Premières Nations d'aujourd'hui. Il y a aussi eu un témoignage d'un homme qui était allé à une école résidentielle quand il était jeune. Une fille de notre âge nous a aussi partagé l’histoire de sa fierté en tant que descendante de premières nations. Tout c'est présentation et histoire m'ont beaucoup appris sur les conflits du passé et d'où viennent les conflits qu'on voit aujourd'hui auprès des Premières Nations. J'ai aussi une meilleure compréhension des efforts et des réussites que les Premières Nations sont en train d'avoir auprès du gouvernement. Tout cela m'a donné une nouvelle façon de penser et voir les Premières Nations.


Debating by video conference was very different from doing it in person. The fact that you had to look at a camera and not at an audience was very strange to me. It was a period of great learning. From how to debate better, and how to work with other young people through technology. I had the honour of receiving the Richard Picotin Prize, given to the participant who best represented the bilingual aspect of the seminar. In short, I really enjoyed my first online seminar experience and look forward to participating again.


Louis Prince

Grade 11

École canadienne-française pavilion Gustave-Dubois

I really enjoyed the National Seminar; it was my first time attending and it left a lasting impact on how I view the world. I learnt about the Calls to Action and about the trials many Indigenous peoples face, even in our modern times. I’m so glad to have heard the speakers, they were incredibly inspiring. The courage it must have taken to share is incomparable to anything I’ve seen. I hope to carry forward the things I’ve learnt into my debating and continue the conversation about Truth and Reconciliation.


J'ai vraiment apprécié le séminaire national, c'était la première fois que j'y participais et cela a laissé un impact durable sur ma vision du monde. J'ai appris à propos les appels à l'action et les épreuves auxquelles de nombreux peuples autochtones sont confrontés, encore aujourd’hui. Je suis tellement heureuse d’avoir entendue les orateurs, ils étaient incroyablement inspirants. Le courage qu’il a fallu pour partager est incommensurable. J’espère d’avancer les choses que j’ai apprises dans mes débats au future et poursuivre la conversation sur la vérité et la réconciliation.


Daisy Dyck

Grade 11

Swift Current Comprehensive High School

Thank you to the National Seminar Partners and Sponsors!

Annual General Meeting

The SEDA Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on Tuesday October 20th from 6:30 to 8:30pm on Zoom.

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Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association

The Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association is a non-profit organization that helps children and youth be effective communicators, deep thinkers, and engaged community members.