On National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2021, True North Aid was excited to launch the Indigenous Youth Opportunities Program (IYOP). Since then, IYOP has awarded 7 grants to youth from across central and western Canada!
Indigenous Youth (13-30-year-olds) from across Canada will be invited to apply for a grant (from $250 – $1,000) towards boosting their initiatives and projects.
All strengths-based projects: from arts, music, sports, to traditional and cultural or uniquely crafted- are welcome!
BONUS marks for ideas that helped Youth uncover their personal Superpowers! Whether you are a musician, carver, sculptor, landscape, or beading artist; community organizer or designer/music DJ… we want to hear from you! Tell us how you used your Superpower for your own wellbeing and wellness.
o Your own strength(s)-based activity
o Sports- based: baseball, hockey, skating, lacrosse, fitness classes, weightlifting workshops.
o Indoor Activities-hobbies club; board games club, sewing/quilting/bead making/dream catcher/moccasins/curtain/dresses clubs and workshops.
o Outdoor Activities-canoeing, fishing, and camping groups
o Performing Arts- based -learning an instrument, acquiring new language, singing, dancing, cooking classes, start up a business, or writing a book.
Dakota is from the Stoney Nakoda Nation of Treaty 7 in southern Alberta. He lives with his grandparents and siblings. Dakota’s Eagle- level project is about combining his super talents in album cover designs and music. For his sharp, geometric and colourful designs, Dakota draws inspiration from shapes, diagrams and symbols of the surrounding mountains, rivers and flowers, around him. His goal is to also produce original fusion tracks of Pow Wow, Country and Rock music that can be shared with the rest of Canada. Dakota’s love of his family- especially his Grandmother and Grandfather- buoys his Superpowers! The IYOP Team is excited to support Dakota with music production time and connections to other artists.
Hi, My name is Kathlyn Swampy-Starr, an Ojibwa young woman from Sagkeeng First Nation. I am working towards becoming one of the youngest beauty aestheticians and an accomplished role model for other Indigenous youth. I am fourteen years old; I have used cosmetics as a way to navigate and overcome my own issues with mental health such as anxiety. The way I incorporated cosmetics into my life has shaped me on who I am today. That reclamation of confidence and self-esteem is something I want other youth to embrace. It is not just about looking good but is about feeling good with ourselves, feeling good in our own skin. As Indigenous women we have faced many barriers especially being a young indigenous woman I have had to overcome many obstacles and I know I will be facing more obstacles. Some my inspiration for my designs come from my Dreams, my Dreams are very important in my line of work, if I can’t see it, I cant draw it. I am looking forward for you all to see my social media launch in June 2021.
Hello good day, My name is Tricia Young & my Indian name is Bluebird women. I am a mother of 2 & also a youth advocate for my community. I am also apart of the Nakoda Youth Council, mainly in the Communications Department. I am fluent in my language and thrive to make sure our people don’t lose our language. I am a Jingle Dress dancer known as a healing dance so as my late grandmother would say, ‘dance for the people. Always pray for the family and those who need it.’. Growing up I was taught to always have respect and be kind to others. I am continuing my education to become a child & youth care counsellor, and bring back what I’ve learned to my community. I want to become the best role model for my daughters so that I can make them proud.
Ishnyish, thank you!
Daryl Kootenay is a Traditional singer, dancer, artist, speaker, youth leader. Daryl is a father to his 2 beautiful daughters from the Stoney Nakoda Nation of Treaty 7 in southern Alberta, and a member of the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation in New Mexico from his father’s heritage.
After graduating high school Daryl travelled globally to volunteer his time in countries such as Peru, Nicaragua and Africa working with Canada World Youth first as a participant, then an intern and then employee. He has been a part of CWYs Provisional Aboriginal Youth Committee where he participated in the “Aboriginal Youth and Confederation: Learning from the past, building for the future conference” in 2014, an event cohosted by CWY and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, as part of the PEI 2014 Charlottetown Conference sesquicentennial celebration. He was also a delegate for his nation and CWY at the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Rights, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City (Sept 2014).
Daryl has actively volunteered in his community of Morley, Alberta in a variety of roles. This includes being a group leader for the Project Nakoda Outdoor Wilderness Experience (NOWE) and co-founding the Stoney Nakoda Youth Council in 2014 which has travelled to a number of significant United Nations and North American Youth events. He has the tremendous honor of being awarded the Governor General’s “Sovereignty’s Medal for Volunteers” in June 2017 for his work.
Aba’wath’tech, Ya’aat’eeh, Hello there! My name is Tosha Kootenay. I am Nakoda Sioux, from Morley, Alberta, born for Naa’Kai Dine’e (Mexican clan) of the Navajo Nation in the southwestern region of the United States.
I am the website developer for the Indigenous Youth Opportunities Program (IYOP). From an early age I have always had a natural understanding and ability to work with computers in all its forms, from hardware to programing, to the internet. My interest in website development started on a social network called Myspace. It was there that I learned about coding and how to manipulate different elements to customize my profile at the time. From there I was hooked! Website development is my passion, but I also love to do graphic arts, and work with multimedia. I thrive to keep up with the latest programing and software so that I can continue to design websites that are impactful, easy to navigate yet visually appealing.
Amanda is the media and communications advisor on the IYOP team working closely with Daryl to help amplify the exceptional content he creates for the program. She is also the founder of The Good Harbinger, a media consultancy whose mission it is to help brands and charities that truly contribute to the well being of humans, animals and the planet get their voices heard and their offerings advocated for. With over 20 years of experience working in world class global media agencies, she offers access to quality strategic counsel, connections and advertising campaigns.
With a keen interest and passion for community development issues affecting the North, Carolina was previously an Executive Board Director of True North Aid. The Indigenous Youth Opportunities Program (IYOP) will be a priority program for the organization that creates pathways to business enterprise and skills development for Indigenous Youth throughout Canada. Carolina is excited and honoured to lead IYOP with a team of talented Indigenous Youth leaders- Daryl and Toshia; and guided by our Knowledge Keeper Teresa Snow.
With over 20 years in technical project management in the international health & agribusiness development sector- she is excited to be serving communities closer to home. Currently, as President of Indigenous Innovations Shelter Corporation, she is delighted to work with cross-functional teams- from Federal, Provincial, First Nations governments to private civil and construction firms- to build homes and co-create neighbourhoods with First Nations communities that residents will thrive and enjoy. While always leading projects with heart, Carolina practices evidence-based and data derived decision making and shares a strong tenacity for solutions. Thank you !