Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck said:
Thank you, senators. I’d just like to say a few words about this. This is a budget request that is going to support an event on June 6, 2018. It’s what we call Youth Indigenize the Senate.
We invite eight to nine youths from across the country, and we attempt to get a balance between gender, regional representation and the three Indigenous groups: First Nations, Metis and Inuit. This is the third time we’ve actually held such an event. This year we received about 150 applications, out of which we had to pick eight to nine participants. It was really quite a challenging chore because they were all highly educated, highly successful and highly motivated and active individuals within their own communities.
I don’t like to brag, but in 2011 the Aboriginal Peoples Committee first started inviting youth leaders to our committee. At that time, we invited the leaders from the major national Indigenous organizations. So we would have the youth leader then from the Assembly of First Nations, the youth leaders from the Metis Nation of Canada and so on. Out of that grew an awareness that we really need to have Indigenous youth voices represented in our work as a committee, and this was opportunity for us to grow that.
In 2016, when we were doing our northern housing study, we met a couple of youth in Kuujjuaq who really impressed us, and we decided that we needed to really make their voices part of Senate testimony.
When Senate Communications revamped and became a bigger part of the Senate, they saw the value of our initiatives and ramped it up into what is now called Youth Indigenize the Senate. It has been very successful. The budget is modest. It’s only $1,900, mostly for hospitality and for getting the services of elders to aid the youth that are coming here.
That’s your brief background.