Northern youth share their culture at Four Directions
Staff members at Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre (FDASC) recently welcomed Northern Youth Abroad participants Colleen Kangegana and Ts’iwa Apples to Queen’s and learned more about the visitors’ home communities.
“I suggested they give their required presentations at Four Directions because the home-like environment would put them at ease,” says Vanessa McCourt, an Aboriginal advisor at FDASC who hosted the girls for six weeks. “Staff members have dealt with stereotypes about Indigenous people at some point in their life, so I knew they would keep that in mind when asking Colleen and Tsi’wa questions.”
Ms Apples hails from Gamèti, N.W.T., a community of fewer than 300 people located 177 km northwest of Yellowknife. Ms Kangegana lives in Fort McPherson, N.W.T., approximately two hours south of Inuvik.
NYA participants from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have the opportunity for a cross cultural learning experience while acquiring professional skills through a job placement. Ms Apples worked at the Glass House in Kingston during the program, and Ms Kangegana completed her placement at a day camp in Loyalist Township.
“My work placement was pretty good. Everyone who walked in was very kind and interested about life in the north,” says Ms Apples.
Ms McCourt brought the teenaged students into her family and enjoyed working through the occasional challenges that arose because of the cultural and generational divide. She planned several activities to introduce the girls to urban culture. They travelled to Toronto, visited local attractions such as Fort Henry, and attended a moon ceremony at FDASC.
Ms Apples and Ms Kangegana described their experiences on the Northern Youth Abroad blog.