ALL OUR STORIES.
Photographs and video by Agnieszka Pajor.
Over the past few months the Shākāt Team traveled to a number of different communities to collect stories from youth all around the territory. We were struck by their creativity and unique perspectives on life in the Yukon. Here are some of their stories.
We were warmly welcomed by the teachers as they seemed happy to have visitors from out of town. They helped us immensely as we proceeded with the day working with the students on the projects. The students were shy at first but as soon as we started working, they opened up and got creative. They wrote and performed songs, wrote stories and shot a video. It was a tremendous pleasure to work with the youth as well as the teachers of the Eliza Van Bibber School in Pelly Crossing.
By Mackenzie Gill.
When thinking about empowerment, I think about things that make me feel happy and good about myself. Being a good role model in my community is when I feel the most empowered because that feeling carries down to the younger generation, and that is the best feeling ever.
While interviewing two very empowering women in our community, they both agreed that the youth are the most empowering individuals. I love being a good role model because I always wanted the older kids to notice me, when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I really want to engage with the other kids to make sure they don’t feel left out, like I did.
I currently work as the Recreational Youth Worker, for Selkirk First Nation. I work every day, after school, doing fun things with the kids and I love every second of it. My job makes me feel empowered because the kids all respect and look up to me, which warms my heart every day.
Recently, I was conducting an interview with the Eliza Van Bibber School’s Northern Tutchone teacher, Shirley Joe. She said that her job is what empowers her the most. She loves that she gets to help kids learn the language and practice cultural activities. She also feels empowered while doing traditional things like sewing, hand-games, hunting, fishing and trapping. She expressed her view that the community would benefit from more adults taking language classes and if older Elders taught younger Elders the old teachings and history.
When I interviewed the Selkirk First Nation Education Support Worker, Julia Joe, she says that positive relationships, good communication and positive working environments are what empowers her. She feels as if her job empowers her a lot, too, because she enjoys supporting and interacting with the students every day. Julia expressed that Pelly could become a more empowering community by focusing on the youth. She says the youth shouldn’t have to struggle and that everything should be balanced out by more structure in areas like fairness, wellness and on the land activities. She suggested things like designing new programs for youth like mentoring and more social educational programs.
Empowerment can be found in many different ways.