Community Organizer and Wâpahki Program Coordinator, Chokecherry Studios
Allison Forsberg is a Cree youth and the Wâpahki Program Coordinator at Chokecherry Studios, a youth-founded non-profit organization offering arts-based programming and mentorship to young and emerging artists in inner-city Saskatoon.
Before this, Allison led many initiatives in the community to bring a voice to those underrepresented in the community. At the age of 11, and in support of her transgender sister, Allison and her family initiated a lawsuit to have sex removed from government-issued identification in Saskatchewan.
In her early adolescent years, Allison served as the Indigenous youth representative for the Saskatchewan Youth New Democratic Party. She also started the Cards of Hope campaign to raise awareness of youth suicide and to support those affected by suicide in Northern Saskatchewan communities. By 16, Allison wrote a blog for the United Church of Canada that encouraged Indigenous peoples to get out and vote.
A year later, following the discovery of mass gravesites in Kamloops and on Cowesses First Nation land, Allison collaborated with Chokecherry Studios to organize the Bring Them Home/Cancel Canada Day 2021 rally. With just under a week’s notice, the event brought together over 4,000 attendees and led to the planning of the Kiskiwan Smudge Walk.
Later that year, Allison helped her friend, B’yauling Toni, acquire 20 pairs of baby moccasins that he would then deliver by bike to each of the federally recognized residential schools in Saskatchewan. For Toni, this was a way of bringing restitution to those affected by the residential school system.
Throughout the past year, she has given speeches, participated in panels such as the Reimagining Canada Day event, and spoken to students within Saskatoon Public Schools on her journey with advocacy. She has also worked as a youth consultant with Saskatoon Poverty Reduction and the Anti-Racism Network and successfully held another Cancel Canada Day event in 2022.