Indigenous youth seek voice in international body
Will UNPFII seat a council focused on the younger Indigenous demographic?
A group of young Indigenous ambassadors has put forth a resolution for a youth advisory committee to be established as part of the ongoing 21st session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Nipâwi Kakinoosit, a delegate with the Young Diplomats of Canada, made the case before the forum on April 29. He is Nehiyaw (Cree) from the Sucker Creek First Nation in Northern Alberta.
“While we are often invited to these platforms to learn, we are rarely afforded the space of offer our wisdom and share our expertise to shape the forum’s future as we would our own,” Kakinoosit said.
“Indigenous youth are the next generation. They are the next world change makers, and we will be sitting in your seats soon.”
“We did not choose to carry the unfair history of our peoples, but we are here to advocate for the future we deserve. We stand before you not just with a wish to be heard, but with a call to contribute more meaningfully as active participants….”
Call to action: UNPFII would be enriched by seating a youth advisory council reporting to the main forum body, young Indigenous attendees say.
Further: They want an annual youth report, engagement with young Indigenous peoples globally, as well as data collection.
“Through the creation of a youth advisory council, we feel that the unique voices of Indigenous youth worldwide will finally have a space to help build the future we hope for,” Kakinoosit said to applause.
Forum members are expected to decide on the issue by the end of tomorrow, the last day of the current UNPFII session.
Related: Suicide rates in Indigenous youth populations are high in various countries.
“Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that suicide is the leading cause of death for Indigenous children ages 5-17.”
“Suicide rates among First Nations people, Métis and Inuit were significantly higher than the rate among non-Indigenous people.”
“Native American youth die by suicide at nearly twice the rate of their White peers in the U.S.”
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