Indigenous Youth Voices Matter in Atlantic Canada

Have you ever heard someone say, youth are tomorrow’s leaders?  Well, that’s true, though aren’t many youth leaders today?  We sure think so…

Leadership looks different for everyone, though one of the things about leadership that everyone can find in themselves, is that bravery and courage to speak out and stand up for what you need in your life and want to see – for yourself, your siblings, cousins, and friends. 

We’re Listening 2024 has been a series of activities and ways for Indigenous youth in Atlantic Canada to speak out to help create the strongest, healthiest, and happiest future for Indigenous young people!

Together with our friends at the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation we created spaces where youth shared their ideas, experiences and insights into issues facing them, their friends and family members and what they are looking for leaders to do to address these issues, along with the role they see themselves playing in creating change moving forward.

Who’s Speaking Up?

More than 100 Indigenous youth between the ages of 13 – 18 years old, and live in Atlantic Canada have taken part in We’re Listening 2024.

Their voice matters…as do their experiences, ideas, and stories…and we heard them!  This process has been anchored to help adults make decisions, WITH young people, instead of FOR young people. 

There are three things we’ve done as part of this project!

With more than 100 submission, we received 65 completely filled out We’re Listening 2024 Online Surveys!

This survey helped identify what key issues were addressed by youth at the We’re Listening Youth Gathering that took place in Ottawa in February 2024!

At the We’re Listening Youth Gathering 20 Indigenous youth took the time to build connections, community and create 22 recommendations that can be brought back to other youth and adults in Atlantic Canada on issues that matter to Indigenous youth in each region!

Take part in one of our We’re Listening Indigenous Youth Social and Engagement Sessions!  With one session in each region, (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador), this 3.5-hour event features a way to share your ideas with us – and enjoy some entertainment! (We promise, it’s awesome!) Dates and locations can be found here and to learn more!

Who’s Listening?

We’re Listening: Indigenous Youth Voices Matter in Atlantic Canada is a Three Things Consulting Youth Voice Process in partnership with The Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation.  Along with supporting partners, we want to hear directly from youth – those who often don’t find themselves in spaces and places where they can speak up – and know that someone is listening. And we are.

We will collect everything we hear and treat it with the sacredness that young people’s bravery deserves.  We will bring what we learn, about both the strengths youth see in themselves and the challenges they want adults, organizations, and systems to address to those who can help create change.  At the We’re Listening Youth Gathering taking place in Ottawa this November, a small group of youth will dig deeper into the most pressing issue identified by what we hear and create Calls to Action to help give those adults some direction. 

Who are Three Things and Ulnooweg?

Or really – what are #The3Things?  They are what anchors who we are…

We want folks in our circles to know and believe that, that they matter, are important and they belong.  We create processes for youth and community voices to be lifted and lead powerful development and healing gatherings that provide space for participants to connect, build a community and address content that matters to them.  Learn more about the #The3Things here or our gatherings here

Our team of consultants across Canada at Three Things focus on areas such as healing, development, sport, leadership, and cultural connections. Our work has long been anchored in teachings and guidance for Elders, Grandmother, Knowledge Keepers, and young people who have generously shared and guided us along the way. 

Now in its 35th year of operation, Ulnooweg is an established and innovative not-for-profit organization dedicated to the success of the Indigenous communities, individuals, and businesses of Atlantic Canada. 

The three organizations, along with their varied initiatives, currently provide a range of financial and community development services to entrepreneurs, community enterprises, and Indigenous led commercial and charitable projects. Learn more about Ulnooweg and their organizations here.

Ulnooweg has three divisions: Ulnooweg Development Group Inc. (a funding and business centre), The Ulnooweg Education Centre (an education and research charity) and the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation, (a charitable foundation). 

With the strong commitment to young people by Ulnooweg over the years, Three Things has proudly partnered with Ulnooweg on large and small activities including two of our signature projects. 

Msit No’Kmaq: All Our Relations, had 45 Indigenous youth from across Canada sail from Halifax to France taking part in a sailing, cultural and leadership development program at sea. Learn more about that project here.

Mekite’tm: I Am Proud had a delegation of young Indigenous athletes travel to witness the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru and take part in cultural, sport and leadership development.  Supporting the young people were Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Dr. Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild and Olympian and Pan American Gold Medal winner, Waneek Horn-Miller.  Learn more Mekite’tm: I Am Proud and see the outcomes for the young people here.

We are grateful and excited to collaborate with the Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation on We’re Listening, and we look forward to you all learning more about how they are creating space for Indigenous youth voices in Atlantic Canada to be heard, and for you to have spaces to create change in your own communities!

So ya, change starts with you.  Click here to start sharing your voice! 

If you’re an adult and have Indigenous young people between 13 – 18 years old who live in Atlantic Canada in your life – please share this information about the Youth Social and Engagement Sessions!

If you have any questions please contact us at [email protected].