What is the NLC
As an initiative under the Canada Service Corps, 4Rs has set out to create opportunities for youth-led reconciliation initiatives that support dialogue and action that pushes us beyond buzzwords, towards a process of generational change.
For each cohort, we call together teams of 2-5 young people between the ages of 18-30, to join our National Learning Community (NLC). Together, we build our capacity to take action on reconciliation in ways that are relevant to us as young people, reimagining the process of reconciliation through the lens of authentic relationship building, critical dialogue and collaborative leadership. Our hope is to weave together networks of awesome young people, with organizations and movements contributing to a healthier ecosystem for those of us moving forward the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
This year has provided us with an opportunity to work with 7 communities across Turtle Island to host conversations that matter to them, as we move toward truth and healing, and imagine possible futures based in equity and social justice for Indigenous people.
Throughout our journey this year, the NLC will be exploring how our understandings of kinship, lateral love and self-determination, bring new meaning to reconciliation. We hope to come to understand these new learnings by centring each community’s needs, co-designing a community project to address those needs, and coming together to share our learnings and grow with one another.
Check out the teams below to learn more about each team and the members of the 2020-21 NLC!
Meet the 2020-21 NLC Cohort
“I view reconciliation as necessary to start to have frank and genuine conversations about the many layers of personhood that people carry. I am interested and passionate about growing space in my community for people to talk about this in many ways, and particularly in the queer community. In Iqaluit and the Inuit community we need to open the conversation around the traditional queer and non-binary roles we had and have in our culture. I feel it is my duty as someone who identifies as non-binary and pan-sexual auto open up this space when it is not talked about and to help decolonize the conversation around sexuality and gender norms, and roles.”
“In our gathering, we shared food, country food, soul food. We learned about eachother and ourselves. We learned a new skill together. We shared stories. We laughed full belly laughs. It felt like connection, it felt like community care, it felt like support. It felt like chosen family. A transformation of possibility occurred. We all started to believe that new things were possible for us in our community. We started to believe we could thrive together.”
I am an Inuk femme who resides in Inuit Nunaat (Inuit international lands in Alaska, Greenland, Canada and Russia) With both settler heritage, and Indigenous latino heritage from Ecuador I have grown up to come to respect the many cultures that contribute to who I am. I have been exploring my identity and have come to terms that that is only for me to decide. I am passionate about providing others the same opportunity to take time to explore and determine who they are, in a world that often tells us who to be. I look to provide my growing Inuit community in Inuit Nunaat (Nunavut in Canada in particular) an opportunity to be as they are and genuine and authentic as they feel safe to be. I helped to create a group based in Iqaluit, Nunavut to do just that, known as Ivviulutit. This roughly translates from Inuktitut to English as “to be as you are.” I want to create brave spaces where people can be free of confines.
I am a queer, non-binary, Sikh person with roots in different spaces. I currently call Nunavut home, however I grew up in Cape Breton Nova Scotia and was born to family from Punjab, India. I am an ocean researcher, scuba diver and farmer. I like to advocate for 2SQTBIPOC and the environment. I am passionate about building community support systems within anti-racist and anti-capitalist frameworks. Currently working for a birthright Inuit organization, conducting ocean research. However, I hope to use the knowledge and support from 4rs toward a volunteer initiative called Ivviulutit. Our core team consists of three members and we strive to build supportive spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ BIPOC youth in Iqaluit.
“Our group came together in Chinatown through a shared understanding of what it means to navigate our Asian-Canadian identities as diasporic youth on unceded land. Our lived experiences allowed us to resonate with each other and jump into new questions and adventures with gusto. However, each of us hold a depth of complexities that make our relationships to Chinatown distinct.”
“Individually, each of us maintains a thoughtful approach to how we build relationships, navigate personal development, and find our respective work in the world. Together, we share a praxis that blooms with joy through centering our relationships with each other while remaining firmly grounded in shared values and collective learning.”
I am a first-generation Taiwanese Canadian who grew up in Treaty 7. Since moving to Coast Salish territories to pursue an undergraduate degree at UBC in sustainable food systems, I’ve been gardening up a storm with peers and centering food as a placemaking too and community practice. These days, I spend most of my time pondering the interfaces of critical pedagogy, food justice and youth community engagement. When I’m not thinking about alternative futures, you can find me drawing, biking, and tree climbing.
I am a bi-racial Chinese Canadian settler living on unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, & Tsleil-Waututh. I am a descendant of CPR builders and Head Tax Payers. On my mother’s side, I am a descendant of settlers from Ireland, Scotland and England. I am excited by bird watching and learning about the ecology around me. In my work, I campaign for climate justice and holding oil giants accountable for the damages they’re causing our communities. I love food and playing with vegetables that remind me of my culture and who and where I’m from.
Kacey Ng (伍啟詩) is a Hong Kong-Chinese-Canadian Settler on unceded Coast Salish Territories.
As a lifelong learner, she embodies an eager curiosity towards relationship building and connecting with people through places while critically examining the intersections of oppression and marginalization in ethnic minority spaces. Kacey is pursuing her Masters in Urban Planning with a focus on Housing and Social Planning.
Alan is a racialized settler on unceded lands, working in service of equity and liberation for himself and others. Raised on Coast Salish Territories (Metro Vancouver) by immigrant parents and educated in Tiohtià:ke, Kanien’kehá:ka territories (Montreal), he embodies a gentle masculinity and an anti-oppressive lens in his interactions, politics, and work.
Alan currently works as a planning assistant for the City of Vancouver’s Chinatown Transformation Team, working to bend the trajectory of Chinatown from decline to transformation. He draws from various intertwined communities of diaspora, decolonization, and social change for wisdom and guidance.
“Over the last ten years or so, and even in the last five years, I’ve noticed a resurgence of Two Spirit youth taking action, reclaiming traditional roles, and decolonizing the systems of sexual orientation, gender, and identity presentation. I want to continue this momentum of Two Spirit uprising, and reach as many youth as I can with education, resources, and support. Ultimately the goal is to reduce the number of tragic deaths and addiction in the Two Spirit community. I believe that knowledge is power, and we as a community need to support our Two Spirit babies by ensuring that there are safe spaces in the community for them to learn, for them to come into their own, and ultimately take up positions of leadership.”
Chelsea Currie is a Plains Cree, two-spirit queer person, going by they/them and she/her pronouns interchangeably. Her spirit name is Wapisiw Iskwew, meaning Swan Woman. She is currently going to school at Yellowhead Tribal College in Edmonton, for Indigenous Social Work. She is an experiential, life-long learner. Focusing on decolonial activism and advocacy, she works from an intersectional, Indigenous feminist approach. Some of the recent work she’s done is Canada World Youth’s International Aboriginal Youth Internship in Perú, and Katimavik National Experience. She is also a board member of the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society, and is a youth board representative for the 2 Spirits in Motion Society. She is honoured to be a nationally recognized two-spirit volunteer, panelist, and ambassador. She hopes to work from an anti-oppressive, decentralized, trauma-informed practice, to create and hold space for Indigenous youth. She moves forward with the intention to create awareness, remain grounded in culture, and be a change-maker in the different communities she is apart of.
Kairyn Bureau is a two-spirit Nakota Sioux person that uses he/him and they/them pronouns. His traditional name is Okîsikohk Kânîmihitot, or “Sky Dancer.” Kai is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in English, and hopes to complete his studies and apply for graduate school, doing a Master’s of Education in Counselling Psychology. Kai has dreams to become a registered psychologist and open a private practice where he will be able to work one-on-one helping some of the most vulnerable people, with a special interest on two-spirit individuals and other indigenous youth. Kai has been on the board of directors for the Edmonton 2 Spirit Society for a year now, Chairing the Education and Outreach committee, and also sits on the Alberta Health Services’ Wisdom Council where he advocates for better healthcare delivery for Indigenous People in Alberta. On his free time he teaches traditional Metis jigging, and volunteers with organizations such as the OCYA, CFS, and other non-profits.
“I have been witness to the resurgence of culture for Indigenous youth in Canada. It is beautiful to see young people reclaim parts of who they are, especially when they were not raised in culture. It is something they go out and consciously rediscover. In 2020, I hope to see more and more of this. Having a strong sense of identity in oneself creates a ripple effect in young Indigenous people. Each youth is inspired by the other.” – Raven
Tansi! Raven Sage Hillory Richards nitesenekason. Nina ohci Opaskwayak Cree Nation on the Treaty 5 territory in Northern Manitoba. My main interests are social justice, education, community, intersectional feminism and Indigenous motherhood. I am a mother, a partner, a daughter, a sister, and an auntie among other things. I nourish my kinship roles with love, support and responsibility.
I am the coordinator for a commemorative project that assists MMIWG/LGBTQ2S families in the Swampy Cree region of Manitoba. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Aboriginal and Northern Studies in June of 2016, and subsequently, a Bachelor of Education degree in June of 2018. I taught grade six for a year and wholeheartedly loved contributing to the youth’s educational journey. Currently, I am enjoying community work as I am just as passionate about community as I am education. My plan is to return to teaching once I have completed my term.
My name is Skylar DeLaronde. I am 27 years old. I am a father, a part-time post-secondary student and I work with youth. I enjoy creating all forms of art including music, painting, sketching and digital content. I am enrolled in the final year of the Aboriginal and Northern Counseling Skills Program at the University College of the North. In 2016 I graduated from Advance Screenwriting and Film from the Adam Beach Institute in Winnipeg, MB.
“Our group is diverse. Although we’re all from Listuguj we each have very unique experiences…Our diversity makes us stronger, and our passion for our people is what is going to move us forward and keep us motivated. We understand why our community is the way that it is and we know it’ll be our generation that will be the pivot of change in our community, and being able to support each other is what will make us stronger together…we are all very strong, beautiful, powerful women, and together we can conquer so much…All of us have a deep love for the betterment of our people…we all have the same vision that we’d like to see for the future.”
My name is Macy Metallic, I am from Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation. I am currently enrolled as a student at the University of New Brunswick in the faculty of Renaissance College. I am taking a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership also known as Leadership Studies. On my free-time, I like to work on any personal work or projects such as sewing.
I am Mi’gmaq from Listuguj First Nation in Quebec. I’m graduating this year from the University of New Brunswick with a Business degree with a focus in accounting. Throughout my years at university, I ran on the track team and sat on the UNB Student Union for my last two years where I grew a passion and love for advocating on behalf of Indigenous students. I work a part-time job as the assistant of the university’s Assistant Vice President of Indigenous Engagement where I get to further my knowledge and work with the whole Indigenous community on campus. On the side, I’ve been coaching track and field for five years. I am the Head Coach for NB’s track team for NAIG 2020 and have previously coached high school track. I’m unsure what I’ll be doing after I graduate, but I’m excited to see where life will take me!
Rosalie LaBillois is a 23 year old Mi’gmaq woman from the community Eel River Bar First Nation in New Brunswick. Currently a student at Trent University and working as a Youth Engagement Officer for Ulnooweg Foundation. Aside from her studies and work, she is quite active in some leadership roles as being the female youth representative for the NB/PEI region and serving her second term as one of the Co-Chairs for the Assembly of First Nation’s National Youth Council.
“We need to break down the definition of reconciliation and some of the vocabulary that is used a lot at youth gathering and informing as well as learning different perspectives, vocabulary on topics around reconciliation and connection all the differences and similarities. I feel Thunder Bay is such a special community with so many amazing people, doing amazing things and I want to share that with young people! I love my culture and community and know this gathering would be a meaningful experience for young people as well as for myself.”
Hello, spirits of Mother Earth. My name is Bele Isabella, I am passionate and care for others. I believe we are all connected through energy forms. My biggest struggle in life has become my biggest motivator, everything happens for a reason and I love getting to know all you amazing souls, we are all unique and carry different strengths and could teach each-other! I strive to radiate positivity and coach positive mentality. I have a terrible story of the past, but it has shaped who I am today and I’m not ashamed. My goal is to graduate Social work studies and become a Mental Health counsellor. I love learning about others! And uplifting spirits in a way that is right for them. I wish you all well! Thank you for reading.
I am a 25 year old Iranian/Canadian writer. I am in the English literature program at Lakehead University and have lived in Thunder Bay for over 15 years. My passion is focused around writing and the storytelling aspects of cultures, and how literature, writing, and art can unite peoples’ philosophies and become a vessel for sharing and relating to one another.
Shelby Gagnon is an Anishinaabe/Cree artist from Aroland First Nation but has lived in Thunder Bay for most of her life. She is an environmentalist and advocate for the lands, waters and Indigenous peoples. Shelby is a graduate of Lakehead University in the Fine Arts program where she explored the reclamation of identity and traditions of being an Indigenous woman in Canada. Through involvement with community-engaged organizations and projects, she uses multi-disciplinary mediums to express and share her holistic feelings.
This past year she has worked with CRE, a nonprofit that helps in creating dialogue around reconciliation and strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in Canada. Shelby is also working with the Indigenous Food Circle on a project called ‘Understanding our Food System’ as program coordinator. She promotes awareness around food sovereignty, Indigenous climate action and supports communities to build food sovereignty projects in 14 Northern Indigenous communities. By working with youth, activists and other artists, she is dedicated on expanding her knowledge and contemporary take on traditional methods of art and healing practices for the community.
“The hope would be that youth were empowered to start their own projects, and that we would grow stronger by sharing stories of growing collective resilience…Impacting one person deeply is far more important to us than hardly impacting a larger group…We want to see isolated indigenous youth reclaiming parts of their indigenous identity, leaving with a leadership flame lit within them and the ability for growing capacity building. We would like them and us to inspire others and bring skills and more confidence back to their communities.”
“Because we’ve all experienced things in different ways, that’s why we can come together as a team. We come from different nations, educational/ work backgrounds and are equally divided between Younger (19 and 20) and older (27 and 28) youth. All of us together make one big group of intergenerational trauma experiencing yet extremely resilient group… We want to make our community a better place in so many different ways. We keep each other working hard but also focused on our self care and positivity.”
I’m the grandchild of Florence Benoit elder of Miawpukek First Nation. I’m a proud Mik’maq Two spirit person. I’m a barista and an artist. I live in Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) currently in St. John’s as an urban native. I have almost a decade of experience organizing protests, workshops, and community building.
I am an Inuit youth, on the path of getting a degree in geography to eventually pursue a career in activism and/or impacting Indigenous youth to engage more with their cultures and sustaining the environment in a traditional way. I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they would say and am extremely motivated to keep my culture, as well as other Indigenous cultures, alive and thriving in the modern world that continually tries to assimilate it.
I am a founding member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band, born and raised in Little Rapids, NL before moving to St. John’s where I still live today. Like many in the Qalipu band I grew up feeling disconnected from Mi’kmaq culture and traditions, which led me to begin reclaiming my Indigenous identity through activism and performance. As a Land Protector and proud socialist, I am passionate about decolonization, tackling the climate crisis, and ensuring economic and food security for all. Having spent several years as a leader among Indigenous student activists in Canada, I am dedicated to empowering others to create social change through political action. I continue my activism as Co-Chair of the Social Justice Co-operative NL (SJCNL), which is a grassroots movement that seeks to be part of a broader Revolution of Care. Through SJCNL, I strive to build community and inspire activism across social movements on a local and global scale.
I am a young Mi’kmaq man from Harbour Main, NL, and I study at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). At MUN, I study things that I can use to aid the world around me. I am pursuing 3 majors, Business, Economics and Linguistics and a certificate in Public Policy. I have a passion for righting wrongs and making things better. Since I started my studies, I became the Financial Director at MUN Sexuality and Gender Advocacy, the Sustainability Director for the MUN Students’ Union, and the Indigenous Student’s Representative through the CFS-NL.
P.S. I love language revitalization.