Welcome to ‘Saimaniq Says’, which will be regular updates from our Youth Advisor on the Enhancing Indigenous Education Through Co-Creation project, from our young persons perspective. This week you get to meet our pal and learn a little about why the issue of Indigenous education is important to him…
Hello everyone my name is Saimaniq Temela and I’m a grade 12 student at Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute and I am an 18-year-old Inuk youth. I was born in Nunavut in a small community called Kimmirut until I moved to Kingston when I was around 10 years old. After I moved to Kingston, my mother discovered the Katarowki Native Friendship Centre where I was able to learn about First Nations culture and some of the teachings that go along with it.
Also through the Friendship Centre I was given my first opportunity to go on the tall ship, the St. Lawrence II (SL2) as a trainee. I have now been a member of the crew of the SL2 for over 4 years now and have gained many life skills and experiences that will be with me for the rest of my life and that will help me on my journey, known as life.
My role with Enhancing Indigenous Education Through Co-Creation, that Three Things Consulting is facilitating for the Rideau Hall Foundation is that of Youth Advisor. My job is to provide input and ideas in order to make The Gathering of Youth Wisdom as youth friendly as possible and to make it as helpful, educational, and interesting as possible so that all of the youth will enjoy their time and be able to work through these important topics easily.
I am also going to be at the Gathering of Youth Wisdom so if you were to have any troubles or queries I would be an easy person to talk to. For example, if you want someone to talk to if you are feeling lonely homesick feel free to find me, because I know what it’s like to feel lonely, especially when you’re travelling (I’ve been lucky to travel a little bit in this world: ask me about it when we meet:) so you can talk to me pretty easily.
To me, Indigenous education really means several things: I see it as the education of Indigenous culture and teachings to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous People. It also refers to the education that is taught to us, and how it’s taught because we learn things differently such as the teachings in our past that were often done verbally or orally, where people passed things down generation to generation.
This is important to me as an Indigenous youth, specifically an Inuk youth, because I have felt a bit isolated before having a different background than most people I go to school with, or with even people in my neighbourhood. I also feel that many people haven’t been able to fully understand who I am and my culture because they don’t know anything about it besides the little details I explain to them. So it is important to me because I feel that if people were educated about Indigenous people and cultures there won’t be as much isolation for young people like me, who don’t live in their home community.
I alone can’t think of the perfect way for us to be easier because I’m only one person. I can only think about how to make education easier for me. If I want to have input into making education easier for Indigenous youth I would need to know what others think – and that’s why this Gathering is a really important opportunity for Canada as a whole.
Our results from the Gathering won’t just effect Indigenous people: what we come up with can effect non-indigenous students as well. Non-Indigenous people can learn from us the old ways and then help make education more successful for all young people.
So that’s why indigenous education is important to me, and just a little background info about me. I look forward to meeting all sorts of youth from across Canada to help make education enhanced for all Indigenous youth.