Youth

Shannen’s Dream

This video is the plea to the Canadian government to help build a new school on a First Nation where the original school had been ruined because of thousands of diesel fuel that contaminated the ground. The government helped out by putting in “temporary portable trailers.” Or until a new one could be built. This is Shannen’s dream: a school for her community. For more information about this movement go directly to this link: Shannen’s Dream.

It is sad that in a First World Country, some children are still receiving education or lack there of in close below what the rest of the country receives.

There are plenty of videos that show the support for Shannen’s dream. Just makes me wonder where is the support that is truly needed: Canadian government support.

Let’s hope Shannen’s dream becomes a reality.

As the video reads “Hope you’ll remember us. Please don’t forget us.”

Canada… let’s “hope” you don’t “forget” about your future generation.

Check out the Toronto Star’s article on Shannen’s dream HERE.

Check out Shannen’s dream on Facebook HERE.

Open letter… My response

I am writing this post after reading An Open Letter to ALL federal candidates.

This is something I said before:

Don’t talk about us, talk TO us…

One might argue, “Well how do we talk to the youth in Canada?” Well, Canada you’ve created schools. Go to the schools.

One might then say, “Well, youth don’t care…” Yes we care. In fact, we probably care more than you think. We just think YOU don’t care.

One might then ask, as such a question was raised in this open letter, “How do we get youth engaged and interested in politics?”

This last question is a lot more difficult to answer, but I am going to say that youth just need to be encouraged. They need the space and they need the time. Getting youth engaged doesn’t just happen over night. We need to be given the freedom to do what we want, both creatively and intellectually (school doesn’t allow that much of the time). We need to be given the time to do this. School eats up most of our time, so perhaps the answer lies within the schools (Since the majority of young people in Canada can be find in schools for much of their life).

There is a common theme that lies in this answer and it is School.

Perhaps this is a systemic issue (Schools don’t allow youth to be creatively and intellectually challenged; provide for only certain or limited subjects and its content to be taught; eat up majority of a young person’s time and space)

I am not saying school should be abandoned or abolished, but perhaps something needs to change within the schools.

The problem isn’t that youth don’t care. Perhaps the problem is that school doesn’t allow the freedom for youth to show that we care.

So then how do we get youth to be interested and engaged politically? Well, Canada you created them: The Schools.

In the end, I wonder if any of the political candidates have made visits to any of the schools in Canada?

Youth Mental Health & Justice

In 2009, I was able to participate in a conference that focused on Youth Mental Health and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. I met some great youth that were there. We shared a lot of the same feelings: we felt that we were just there as “tokens.” Truth be told. I didn’t really meet a lot of people who were part of the other delegates (ie-frontline workers, nurses, police chiefs, RCMP officers). Well, that is wrong. I did meet them, tried to stay in touch with them… but nothing ever lasted.

That is the problem. People always say we need to do something for the youth, and we need to help youth….but how much do those people really want to hear from the youth? It is possible that some people may get into work like policing, nursing, social services to actually help society, and because of situations they have witnessed or experienced. Unfortunately, I feel that once those people get into the positions where they can actually make a difference, they forget how they got there or forget where they came from. Everyone has a story, yet some people forget about it once they get to the top.

From the conference, I did meet some great youth. These youth came from various backgrounds. Nevertheless, they were still youth and we still had all of our experiences whether indirectly or directly with mental health issues and the justice system.

I remember, as a group, the youth were allowed to speak at the very end of the conference. It was nice enough of them to allow us to speak. However, I was very disappointed in the other delegates who came to this conference, and who were probably paid to be there. I was disappointed because by the end of it, I kept hearing them say, “Oh well I have to leave and get back to my work…” or “I can’t wait to get home and sleep in my own bed…” and other phrases similar in content. The other delegates just HAD to get home and back to their hometown as quick as possible. Barely any of them stayed to hear what the youth had to say at the end of the conference. So I told the delegates who did chose to stay behind the following,

You say you guys want to help the youth but all I keep hearing is how quickly the rest of you have to get home. We, the youth, choose to be here. We are not paid to be here. We are here because we want to see change. When I look out there, all I see are empty tables. I see no change out there. There is no change sitting at those empty tables.

Whether they wanted to agree with me or not, I believed I was right. That is the issue with youth, nobody listens to what we are saying. Everyone says, “Let’s get the youth more involved…” or “Let’s fix what’s going on with the youth…”… but I bet if those people asking those questions, stopped asking questions, and listened for a second… They would probably find more answers then they ever needed.

Instead of talking about us, talk to us.

To see some of the reports, that I just found (nearly two years later) from the conference, see the links below:

John Thibault

On my blog, I am choosing to write about Aboriginal youth! I am not writing about them in a bad way but in a “good way!” I have chosen to profile an Aboriginal youth at least once a month on my blog. I posted it on my FB but no responses. I had to reach out to an Aboriginal youth who I thought was making positive changes in his life.

This December I am featuring John Thibault. Click HERE for his FB page! I have known him for a long time. I know that the journey he has been on has been a long one for a person his age. I want him and other young people to know that people are watching youth and everything that youth do!

He replied to my request to let me feature him on my blog and he said this about himself:

He is doing REAL good! Off drugs and alcohol free! Finding himself spiritually. He has been working on training and working towards a win in UFC style fighting. He has told me has been asked to train with real UFC pro fighters and is working on moving out of his city of Sault Ste Marie. He has been smudging, going to sweats, and having pipe ceremonies. He asks for help and advice during his spiritual ceremonies. He wants to be a “warrior” like his ancestors once were and continues to push himself 100%.

I believe that he is doing a great job. I look up to him after he shared with me his story. I want to get back to my culture and definitely practice it more. I believe it will help me on my journey.

Just have to say: Great job John! I know it’s hard work but in the end it is all worth it!