Indigenous youth are the fastest growing population in Canada and their success is integral to the future leadership and productivity of their communities and of the nation. As is evident in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Indigenous communities are working toward ways to build on community strengths, promote cultural continuity and learning across generations, generate sustainable livelihoods, and encourage resilience, particularly among children, youth, and families. To achieve reconciliation, it is also incumbent on non-Indigenous Canadians to understand how to contribute to the healing and growth of Indigenous peoples.

After over a century of colonialist actions and policies to eradicate Indigenous cultures and identity, the challenges are considerable. Combine this with substantial changes to the land and environments that are so integral to Indigenous well-being, emanating from various forces including climate change and resource development, the challenges and opportunities for the well-being and future prospects of Indigenous youth are significant. The need to provide youth with a healthy personal, social, cultural, and economic foundation is going to be critical to their success.

Ariel Root: Sunset photo