Youth leaders discuss concerns and what we can do better on InFocus with Melissa Ridgen


New host Melissa Ridgen talked with Indigenous youth leaders during the season premiere of APTN’S InFocus.

What are the issues are our youth most concerned about? What are some of the possible solutions so that we can improve things? The youth are going to have to deal with the decisions made today so what should the leaders of today be doing?

The guests on today’s show had a long list of what they wanted to talk about.

Brandon Murdock of the CEDA Pathways to Education program, works with other youth to help them graduate high school.

He says youth housing is an issue that should be looked at more closely.

“Housing would be a priority for youth, so they have some safe and affordable housing options for youth would be number one,” he said.

Murdock also says mentorship and employment opportunities is on top of minds of many youth. That seeing people from their community doing great things would give them someone to look up to them.

Erica Violet Lee, a community organizer and student, supported what Murdoch said.

“A place we can be safe,” she said. “In the prairies or in Toronto or where ever you are in this country, there are very few places we can do to be safe, to be welcomed, to be free.”

Education was also on the minds of young people.

Is it attainable, is it accessible? Are the schools, including post-secondary, doing enough?

“Education in Canada, I feel like a lot of people, including our own people, there isn’t a lot of education surrounding our histories and also, just education on reserves are usually lacking.

There usually isn’t high schools, kids have to leave to go to school and that puts them in dangerous situations,” said Charlene Moore who is currently working on her masters in Indigenous Governance at the University of Manitoba.

Many of the topics covered were some of the issues we talk about often over the water cooler or dinner table. But the youth have a different perspective that most people in positions of power, the people making the decisions today.

That is especially true when it comes to the Indigenous Rights Framework the federal government is drafting now.

The changes made now are going to most affect the youth and the children coming after them.

Darian Lonechild is a youth councillor for the Assembly of First Nations.

She said she would like to see government engaging with people on the Rights and Recognition framework.

“Young people are so focused on surviving day to day, they don’t have the time to engage in government and what is going on above their heads.”

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