My name is Daryl Kootenay. I am from the Iyarhe Nakoda Nation. I am a youth leader & consultant in my community and neighboring communities in the Bow Valley.
I have recently been accepted as a Nakoda Youth Council Coordinator within Canada Bridges to work on a project that I hold dear to my heart. I am so happy every time I get the chance to talk about the Nakoda Youth Council. The Nakoda Youth Council is a grassroots youth group in Morley, Alberta. Our vision is to reawaken the spirit in our Stoney Nakoda youth leaders to be impactful in the world. Our mission is to create healthy opportunities for Stoney Nakoda youth leaders through the promotion of cultural values and beliefs, building youth development programs, and the fostering of healthy and collaborative relationships at a family, local, national & international level.
For the past 5 years, the Nakoda Youth Council has had many amazing opportunities to create, connect, build & deepen relationships with youth and to partner with organizations such as Morley School, Exshaw School, Canada Bridges, The Banff Center for Indigenous Leadership, Biosphere of the Bow Valley, Stoney Elders committee and of course our local community members of Morley. Some of our projects have included support for events like “Honoring Our Youth Round Dance”, “Nakoda Youth Alliance Culture Camp (Bearspaw, Chiniki, Wesley, Alexis, Paul Band, Carry the Kettle & Mosquitoe Nation), Stoney Nakoda Youth Delegation to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, & Hosting Programming in community and schools. Our support in either the designing, co-convening, delivering, facilitating & volunteering stages have left youth feeling a sense of connection, contribution, ownership, and direction not only externally but internally.
This sense of reawakening is truly impactful and allows us to be leaders in our own lives. One of our foundational principles is to be in good relations with those around us within family, Community and workplace. It is the relationship we have with Canada Bridges that supports and enables us to be who we are and to be unique in the way we work in these areas. The Covid 19 global pandemic has put a speed bump in the way we work with each other and community, so working towards being present in community is our current goal. We also want to build and learn new processes and ways of engagement during this pandemic to help us all adjust and respond. We, The Nakoda Youth Council, are happy to be in relationship and working together with Canada Bridges. We were excited to hear of our success in receiving a grant of $25,000 from the Calgary Foundation to support each other in supporting our youth, and creating space to do so. Our current projects include online platforms of sharing, capacity building, & designing programming, working towards building a physical space for our youth group to host and invite youth, when it is safe to do so, as well as supporting local community initiatives & outdoor activities. We are very greatly proud of our work and plan to do even more work within our Community and of course deepen our relationship with Canada Bridges. Canada Bridges is key to our success and we are looking forward to working together!