We are seeing an increase in post-secondary school programs specifically targeted at Aboriginal Youth. Along with this comes backlash from non-aboriginal peoples who see this us unfair. As the fastest growing population in Canada it is imperative to the countries future that these youth be supported and given every opportunity. Perhaps more education of non-aboriginal peoples is necessary to raise awareness of the obstacles aboriginal youth must overcome.
Celebration of the successes is important in all cultures. Perhaps it mainstream North American society it is taken from granted that most people will graduate from high school and attend post-secondary school. This has not historically been the case for Aboriginal Peoples, and their success should not be overlooked, but celebrated.
Indspire is an Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people. The program works to connect Aboriginal Youth with resources to become better educated. Every year they celebrate the success of many Aboriginal students through the Inspire Awards Banquet.
Other celebrations of success are the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’- Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame Award and a Gwich’in project, which highlights the success of its members in a published catalog/timeline that will eventually be put online. Diane Baxter, Gwich’in program officer, notes that the Gwich’in First Nation has a 100 percent employment rate for anyone with post-secondary education.
The project not only highlights the importance of post-secondary education, but the importance of recognizing and celebrating achievements of Aboriginal Peoples. Hopefully the recognition will also encourage Indigenous Youth to strive through the obstacles they face, not only for a better future for themselves and their communities, but for all of us.