In February 2022, our CREation Community Grants team sent out a Q&A form to 2021 CREation grantees to capture their experiences creating and carrying out their projects. Today we are featuring responses from the Building Connections Through Indigenous Youth Stories Project, led by youth leader Mira Buckle from the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Newfoundland.
Q : Tell us about your group and project!
A : As youth members of the Qalipu First Nation, we have identified that there is an opportunity for increased youth involvement in our culture. We hope that the film “Building Connections through Indigenous Youth Stories” will contribute to the great work happening around cultural revitalization in our community.
This format of storytelling will provide a broad-reaching approach to sharing our ways of connecting with our culture. Our hope is that other Indigenous youth will view the film and feel empowered to start their own journey of learning about the Mi’kmaq traditions and ways of living.
We are currently in the process of filming. The plan is to share the film through Qalipu First Nation and the Indigenous Alliance in the school district. The participants in the film have provided positive feedback about the value of having a film that highlights youth and their culture.
Youth participant Maddison discusses many ways she connects with her culture
Q :As the youth running the project, what impact do you hope it will have?
A : The “Building Connections through Indigenous Youth Stories” project will target communities spanning across the island of Ktaqmkuk. With the help of the dedicated elders, community members and youth, there has been a tremendous resurgence of the cultural revitalization of Mi’kmaq identity among the youth.
However, not all youth access cultural teachings. Due to the Indigenous population being disconnected from one another and being in all different parts of the island, youth can feel intimidated or find it difficult to align themselves with a community. Many of the youth from Ktaqmkuk are new to the culture and seeing youth like themselves talking about how they connect with the culture will provide a non-intimidating way to immerse themselves in Mi’kmaq life and traditions. This film provides an opportunity to virtually share stories that will potentially reach Indigenous youth of all ages across the province.
Q :What is something you have learned?
A : When you open your heart and mind to listen to youth, you learn more than you can ever imagine. The four youth that participated in this film provided such an honest and valuable message of how important and needed our culture is for our community. Our ways of knowing and living need to be taught to youth so our Mi’kmaq culture will be here for the next generations and for our ancestors.
Q :What is one piece of advice you would share with other youth who want to run a project?
A : I would say that you should take an idea you have, find people who support your idea and run with it.
I feel so proud to be a part of a project that contributes to cultural revitalization in my community. Any project you take on takes effort, patience, and vision, but it is worth it! Find something you are passionate about and apply for a grant today.
Youth participant Mya at The Mikwite’tm Garden — the name translates to “I remember” — the garden serves as a tribute and memorial in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across the country
We are so proud of the heart-work our young relatives like Mira Buckle are doing across Turtle Island and are so lucky to be able to support them in their work.
IYR is a registered charity that provides Indigenous youth led leadership, learning and experiences to every youth that participates in our programs. We provide programming, grants, and opportunities that are grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and being.