A love letter to Indigenous youth;

written by Dani Lanouette, Special Projects Assistant

photo by Barry Takawgak (@btakawgak_photography)

Indigenous youth, you are the embodiment of love

A love passed down through countless generations of warriors and leaders

A love that’s survived genocide and countless attempts at eradicating your bloodlines

Indigenous youth, you are some of the most important teachers

You teach community how to adapt to today’s realities

You teach us all patience and love from the day you’re born

Indigenous youth, you are leaders

You lead your communities to new and accessible ways of learning and understanding

You’ll be the ones to lead the next generation of youth on their right paths

Indigenous youth, you are important

The media sometimes will make us think otherwise

While we see our relatives dying at the hands of colonial violence

We read the comments reinforcing those harmful narratives

Spewing anti-Indigenous nonsense

Sometimes we start to believe it

Sometimes it makes it hard to see the beauty we carry in our bloodlines

Indigenous youth, you matter

You are essential

You belong here

You are wanted and you hold immense value

Indigenous youth, you are not the comments section on a news article

You are not the stereotypes put onto us from the day we’re born

You are nothing less than light, passion and warmth

Keep fighting

Keep resisting

Keep living

Dani Lanouette is Anishinaabekwe, Ojibwe from Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and Algonquin from Algonquins of Barriere Lake. In her spare time, Dani creates beadwork, is a drum carrier, a singer and a jingle dancer. She’s one of the Co-CEO’s of Assembly of Seven Generations, a youth-led, youth-driven Indigenous Youth organization in Ottawa. Dani is also part of the 4Rs team as our Special Projects Assistant! You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Danishinaabe!