I’m from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and I’m Ojibwe. Through my business, Thunderbird Rock, I give guided on-foot tours along the boardwalk of my city, and give people a space to feel comfortable asking about First Nations. I give a lot of stories and interpretation behind the Aboriginal people who live in this area. There’s a huge gap between First Nations and non-First Nations in my area. It’s hard for people to cross the line, feeling the are overstepping their boundaries or afraid of being wrong. I let people who are interested know about why we do things the way we do. I think that it’s very important that these kind of conversations happen. To be able to get more community work like that means the most to me. It’s worth more than money or anything. It’s about the feeling I get engaging these kind of conversations. It’s also a way to start working together across the divisions of history. I can stand up and use my voice for my ancestors that had a lot of hardship. I get to share their story. Chii-Miigwetch
I am an Anishinaabe kwe from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Batchewana First Nation. I have been working in community economic development in Northern Ontario for the last five years, including as the National Youth Representative for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which advocates for urban, off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in Canada. I'm also the Project Coordinator for the 4Rs Youth Movement (4RYM), a collaboration of fourteen national organizations who are working with youth to rebuild Canada by creating opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people to come together.
I came to YSI as a founding member informing the development of the Algoma hub for cross-cultural youth organizing in Northern Ontario. It has been a privilege being in dialogue and learning with YSI and 4RYM. Together, we are working to reconcile our relationships in support of a better future.
I am from Mississauga First Nation, located near Blind River, ON. My feelings resonate well within the traditional territories of the Algoma District, as I have worked and attended school in North Bay and grown to appreciate the Nipissing region as an almost second home. My passion is applying my education and work experience to these home regions in Northern Ontario. I enjoy meeting like-minded individuals who embrace the challenge of making change happen in their communities and working to improve them for future generations.
My experience with the YSI began in the Fall of 2012 and I have always felt welcomed by the community of people I’ve met and collaborated with. I feel like I have a lot of experience to share as a result and am happy to pass on my knowledge as well as learn from others in the process.
Rihkee Strapp is a Metis of the Wolverine Clan, and #StudioY Alumni from the MaRS Discovery District. They are a multi-disciplinary artist who loves connecting with people around Canada & Turtle Island through social technology. Rihkee is a graduate of the Fine Arts Program at Algoma University.