“My name is Sara Kanutski. I am a 19-year-old indigenous youth from Lake Helen First Nation. I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario but I am currently living in Mississauga, Ontario while pursuing a post-secondary education at Metalworks Institute in Music Performance and Technology as a vocal major.
My childhood consisted of growing up in welcoming home that took in children and young adults who didn’t have homes. This lifestyle as well as my father being a social worker and working on reservations guided me down the path of visiting reservations starting at the age of 12. To this day, I am still visiting when I can to encourage youth to follow their dreams and promote a healthy lifestyle. Throughout my years in Thunder Bay, I was actively involved in the music scene. I found myself at various Thunder Bay functions playing my guitar and performing, competing in competitions, singing with the symphony orchestra or doing charity functions. Since I have been living in Mississauga, I have released a single and in the process of releasing a 4 song EP with Knaux (Shaan Thiara); a good friend who I have met during my first year at college who is very talented in various aspects of music production.
I am going to be finishing off one more year of schooling and during this final year I have plans to grow as a musician and artist, but create connections that will help guide down the correct path after my post-secondary experience. In my future, I see myself immersed in a career that revolves solely on music. I hope to be songwriting for other artists, but I will never stop writing for myself and continuing to share my love for music.”
“My name is Chelsea Perreault. I’m a 22 year old Anishnaabe Kwe. I was born and raised in Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation. I started my journey with Feathers of Hope in 2013 as a youth participant at the First forum.
I joined the Advisory team and was the MC at parliament hill for the release of Feathers of Hope: A Youth Action Plan. I continued to travel and spread the word of FOH and attended other FOH forums as a Home Group Leader to support the youth.
I graduated in 2017 from the Early Childhood Education Program at Confederation College and worked as an Early Years Educator at Migisi School in the kindergarten class. I am currently running a Summer Camp in my community. I’ll be moving to Hamilton to attend school for Children’s Mental Health and eventually go to school to be a Resource Teacher.
I was lucky to be raised with a strong sense of culture in my home and was exposed to powwows and ceremonies at a young age. I danced most of my childhood years as a Fancy Shawl Dancer but have switched to a jingle dress dancer.
Other than dancing at powwows, I stayed active with baseball for 3 years and had to stop due to a partial year in my ACL. I now use yoga and running as ways to deal with my mental health issues and stay active.”
Lorralene Whiteye is from the Ojibwe, Pawnee, and Southern Arapaho tribes. She grew up in a community called Onigaming First Nation, 5 hours northwest of Thunder Bay, ON. She is now currently working and going to school in Toronto, ON. Lorralene’s first involvement with Feathers of Hope was at the 2014 Justice and Juries youth forum.
Over the past couple years Lorralene has had the opportunity to work in the Aboriginal Resource Centre at Humber College as the Special Events and Recruitment Assistant. She now works as the Indigenous Outreach Coordinator. Lorralene was introduced to the Aboriginal Resource Centre in her first year as a student at Humber. For her, the ARC was like a second home.
Lorralene’s education at Humber College has played a foundational role in her desire to foster professional relationships and build on the community that family and friends have started. Her academic, personal and professional experience has solidified her commitment to social justice advocacy and indigenous rights.
Lorralene’s long term goal is to practice Indigenous Law and enhance her knowledge and understanding about the advancements of natural resource development in First Nation communities. She has recognized the need for Indigenous consultation within natural resource development sectors in order to protect mother earth.
Lorralene also sits as member on the 2018/2023 Strategic Planning Steering Committee at Humber, where she advocates on behalf of the Indigenous population to have Indigeneity reflected in the institution. Lorralene’s work in education and with youth in the communities has been recognized on a national level. Growing up in a small community for most of her life, Lorralene understands the barriers that Indigenous youth face. In 2017, she met with Prime Minister Trudeau on Parliament Hill to discuss the importance of youth programming in remote communities.
Lorralene has a strong sense of cultural identity as a recognized jingle dress dancer and beadwork artist. Her commitment to her traditional way of life continues to be a part of her identity as she works towards her educational goals to become a lawyer.
Lorralene does her best to live a balanced lifestyle between western education and traditional education. She believes that our Indigenous knowledge is integral to our entire beings as Anishinaabe people. Lorralene will continue to work towards reconciliation, building trusting relationships, and language reclamation for future generations.
Shane Kenneth Monague
“Weyna boozhoo, aaniin kina weya g’zhi’aanke’nini n’dizhnikaaz g’chi nme m’nissing n’doonjibaa mskwaades n’doodem ojibwe miinwaa anishinaabe nini n’daw.
Hello! My name is Shane Kenneth Monague and I am from Beausoleil First Nation, Christian Island Ontario. I am from the Turtle Clan and I am Ojibwe from the Anishinaabek Nation. This past spring, I finished my first year of post-secondary at Sault College in Sault Ste. Marie where I was studying Digital Film Production.
I was recently selected to participate in an International Aboriginal Youth Internship through Canada World Youth where I will be leaving Turtle Island for my first time and travelling to Tibasosa, Colombia. The duration of this initiative spans over 4 months, from August to December, where I will be living and working with the Indigenous peoples in South America in ecology and sustainability.
Since 2014, I have been working closely with the Feathers of Hope initiative and have met so much great people with the biggest hearts and strongest voices. From the Justice & Juries forum to the Child Welfare forum all the way to the Culture, Identity and Belonging forum, I watched so much young people, including myself, find inspiration from one another and most importantly, find inspiration from who we are as Aboriginal people of Turtle Island.
Feathers of Hope has played and still is a key role in helping me to hone my voice as well as my vision. During the many years since becoming apart of the FOH family and sitting on several committees, I have worked in my community as a Junior Youth Support Worker and Daycamp Counsellor where I had the honour to work with our small leaders.
Working with young people, I find that one learns a great deal about not only just how brilliant our young people are but also about oneself and is an incredibly rewarding opportunity. Formerly an active committee member and still, as an active community member, I represent my home and people of Beausoleil First Nation with pride.”
Hailing from the Little Black Bear First Nation located in Treaty 4 territory, Amber Bellegarde is a Nēhiyaw/Nakoda woman and long time student of life. She moved from the reserve to the city of Saskatoon when she was thirteen and has since adopted the Treaty 6 community as one of her own. While she does not have a concrete plan about her future, she does know that she wants to create a business with her fiancé, Colin, which will give back to her family, communities, and nations.
Currently, Amber is working on a Bachelor of Commerce in Management at the University of Saskatchewan. At the same time, she is also working on a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies – she plans to be finished both in the fall of 2019. She graduated last year with a Business Administration diploma from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and in 2014 from the Youth Care Worker certificate program with Great Plains College. We met Amber during this time as she finished her leadership training with Next Up, was volunteering with Canadian Roots Exchange as a Youth Reconciliation Leader, and then came our way to volunteer with Feathers of Hope. Since then, Amber has strived to work with youth in varying capacities throughout the years.
Amber is an avid beader and, while she does not refer to herself as an artist, strongly wants to contribute to the strengthening and revitalization of Indigenous culture and language. As such, she has taught several people on her journey throughout life how to bead and sew the way she was taught by her own mother and sister. She has also taken steps to find her own Indigenous languages within herself. She firmly believes our Indigenous languages are within us and need to be found again. As such, Amber has taken Nēhiyaw classes when possible through school, but also practices on her own. Recently, she has started learning more Nakoda and Dakota. It is one of her ultimate goals to eventually become a fluent speaker in all.
Amber will be spending the rest of her summer at the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre (SICC) as the Cultural Resource Management Assistant. She encourages everybody to check out SICC’s First Nations Language Keepers Gathering that will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on November 21st-22nd, 2018.
“This annual gathering is the leading national conference devoted to preserving, promoting and protecting First Nations languages and cultures. It brings together academics, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, master speakers, educators, community leaders and students from across Canada and the United States.”
Darian Doblej is a Two Spirit, 22 year old member of Whitesand First Nation. He is a leader in many senses of the word and is passionate about creating a better future for First Nations kids.
Darian has just completed his Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Political Studies at Queen’s University, where he studied the effects of the Indian Act and related provisions on Indian women and girls. He is the first of his family to graduate from university. In September, Darian will remain at Queen’s University to attend law school as part of their Juris Doctor class of 2021.
In 2015, Darian was honoured with the provincial Lieutenant Governor’s Lincoln Alexander Award in recognition for his work on eliminating racism in Ontario. Since high school, Darian has volunteered every moment of his time to work with youth, community leaders, and government to advocate for change that impacts First Nations youth. He has sat on various provincial tables, advising the Premier, various Ministers, senior public servants, and at one point worked in the Prime Minister’s Office.
He credits all of his success to those around him. The strong networks of women, men, and his community’s leadership, that continuously guide him in all of his doings. When asked why he says he credits the women in his life, he says “my mom has always done what was necessary to make sure we had what we needed. When she needed help, my grandma, granny, aunties, and broader community of Whitesand was always there. What I do is for them. My success and drive is because of their individual efforts.”
“Honestly, I have no idea what I’m going to do with my future. I can’t be a Supreme Court Justice because I worked in the PMO, so that dream is shot. Who knows. Either way, I know I’ll be working for my Nation and our kids.”
Today, we’d like to highlight Shai Loyie. She was born in Fort Frances, Ontario, raised in Couchiching First Nation, and is from Rainy River First Nation. She holds a strong love for her friends, family – she is a proud big sister – and for the land, expressed through spending time outdoors on Rainy Lake. Among her past accomplishments, she graduated first in her class from the Child and Youth Worker program of Confederation College in June of
2017, also receiving the Board of Governors Award the same year. Currently, she is furthering her education at Lakehead University, studying in the Honours Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Learning program. She has a strong passion for working with Indigenous youth and strives to be an advocate for youth mental health, as she currently works as a Child and Youth Worker at the Children’s Centre Thunder Bay. As well, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care. She has experience in working with facilitation teams throughout the province, such as for the Wisdom to Action Youth Engagement Conference in Toronto.
Her future goals are to graduate with Honours from Lakehead University in 2020, before moving on to her Masters Degree in Child and Youth Care from Ryerson University. After, she would like to continue her education with a Law Degree. She hopes to continue working on her youth facilitation skills, to network across Canada, and to grow as an Indigenous Ojibwe woman – spiritually, mentally, and physically. In describing the root of her future aspirations, she says, “Whatever I do, wherever I end up, I know I will be working with and advocating for young people.”
My name is Aarianna Roberts, I am a sixteen year old young indigenous woman who resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and moved here as a child. I am very honored and pleased to announce that I will be representing the gorgeous city of Thunder Bay at the Miss North Ontario Regional Canada Pageant 2019. This incredible event is to be held in Sudbury, Ontario from May 9-11th. This is an opportunity to be recognized for my community involvement and volunteer work. It also gives me the possibility of going on to represent my community at national pageants such as Miss Teenage Canada 2019.
A lot of my involvement revolves around the fact that I am an executive member of the Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC). Being a part of such an amazing team of other determined youth has opened a multitude of doors for me. I have been able to assist in planning and hosting events. Some examples of events would be a reconciliation forum we hosted at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School. Others would consist of a number of workshops and meetings we host.
My peers and I were able to host a workshop on multiculturalism at the Youth Embracing Diversity Event hosted by the Lakehead Public School Board. One of the first events I attended with the RMYC was the CanadaWeWant Conference in Southern Ontario hosted by the Students Commission of Canada. Myself along with 150 other youth from across the country gathered to discuss issues involving racism, mental health, and youth opportunities. We all came up with our recommendations surrounding these issues for the youth policy Justin Trudeau is calling for. We were then able to share these recommendations with policy makers and Justin Trudeau’s representative. Since this conference we have been involved with a couple of events with the Students Commission of Canada. We have hosted a ThunderBayWeWant Round table with the Prime Ministers Youth Council and in early July I was able to facilitate a workshop with them at our Multicultural Youth Center.
Along with my involvement with the RMYC, I enjoy volunteering. I have volunteered at places including the Thunder Bay Museum, local thrift stores, community centers, BBQ’s, powwows, Student Working Group Meetings, and numerous events hosted in Thunder Bay. I have also taken part in the Aboriginal Mentor ship Program at my school. Through this program, I have attended the In Business National Conference in Nanaimo, BC. I’ve also heard of the Outland Youth Employment Program from connections in the program. I was able to participate in this incredible program this summer. Not only did it give me work experience, but provided me with a number of training sessions and certificates. Ranging from first aid, safety operation procedures, first aid, ORCKA, chainsaw training, brush saw training, forest fire fighter training, and tree planting experience. It gave all of us first year rangers a taste of working outdoors. We also received 2 high school co-op credits. A lot of the things I have accomplished and been involved in have improved my public speaking skills and confidence in front of an audience.
I was noticed for all of the things I have done when I received the AYARA Community Leadership and Volunteerism Award. Not only will I be representing my community at Miss North Ontario 2019, but I will also show other indigenous youth all of the life-changing opportunities available to us. As I grow and am given different opportunities, I aspire to graduate high school and to be recognized for all the hard work I put towards my academics. My objective is to be accepted into York University and study psychology.
As I experience all of this, I have realized I want to work with youth when I grow older in areas such as leadership and opportunities. I would not have been able to complete any of this without the amazing support of my family and friends! I look forward to all of the new things I will be able to experience because of my participation in Miss North Ontario 2019, and no matter the results, I’ll know I have had all these amazing supports in reaching my fullest potential!”
“My name is Sabrina Grace Angeconeb and I am a proud member of Bearskin Lake First Nation. I spent the first few years of my life living on my reserve and I was blessed to be surrounded by family who spoke Anishininiimowin and were strongly connected to the land.
Later on, I grew up in Thunder Bay. I was always a dreamer and very optimistic even though my mother was a single parent going to school and raising my sisters and I in low-income housing. I grew up in neighborhoods that weren’t the safest and often witnessed drugs and alcohol being consumed. In spite of all this I managed to graduate from high school and was very involved in sports throughout my high school career. Sports has always been a passion and it built up my confidence. I also made friends who were interested in living healthy lifestyles and this was important to me.
In college, I became involved with Turtle Concepts and was a guest speaker at their events. I traveled to remote communities up north and to cities in the United States. In my presentations, I focused on childhood experiences such as leaving my reserve and in high school, how I tried to live a healthy lifestyle by getting involved in clubs and sports.
I’ve always dreamt of exploring the world and moving to a big city away from the negativity and racism that was a part of growing up in Thunder Bay. I remember doing hours of research in grade 7 about universities and college in the Toronto area and even looked into places to rent! I had my heart set on going to school in Toronto and told everyone I was going to study there.
Through the Army Cadet program and various sports teams, I was fortunate to travel throughout Canada and in the United States. One of my most memorable trips was to the Dominican Republic when I was in grade 8. I was invited to go with a friend on a family trip. I was so curious about how other people lived, the culture and languages were fascinating! It was an eye opening experience and it showed how different everyday life is for people around the world. Shortly after that, while in high school, I went to England, Ireland and Wales on an educational tour. Ireland was a highlight because I loved the green rolling hills and kissing the Blarney Stone!
For college, I moved to Toronto at the age of 17 and studied Tourism Management at Humber College. I lived in Toronto for close to 2 and a half years and moved back to Thunder Bay. In the last 2 years I’ve traveled to Mexico, studied in New Zealand and just recently was in Thailand for about a month. I’m hoping to adventure back to Dublin this winter and experience one of my favourite countries in a different season! I also recently accepted a job as a Travel Agent at Happy Time tours and am loving it so far!”