Piikani Youth shares his research in front of the Senate.

Spirit River Striped Wolf and Lillian Dyke during the Indigenous the Senate meeting. Photo curtesy of Spirit River Stripped Wolf.

Piikani youth travelled across the country to share his work with the Senate.

Spirit River Striped Wolf, 24, was nominated by his colleagues to be a participant for the third edition of the Youth Indigenize the Senate lead in Ottawa.

This is part of an ongoing study from The Standing Senate Committee for Aboriginal peoples committee on what a new relationship between Canada and the Indigenous people should look like.

“There is much to be learned from these young leaders,” Senator Scott Tannas, Deputy Chair of the committee said.

“My fellow senators and I are humbled to have them testify before our committee so that we can understand their vision of the future for Indigenous peoples across Canada,” he added.

Striped Wolf was one of nine other youth who travelled to Ottawa to share how they think a relationship would be beneficial to their community.

“A big part of what I wanted to present to the Senate was how the policies used to assimilate Indigenous people affected the self-esteem of Indigenous people,” Striped Wolf said.

Striped Wolf is a student at Mount Royal University and is “researching communications for the social innovation project Otahpiaaki” which is an organization to support local Indigenous designers and entrepreneurs.

From his research, he found that throughout the year's racial shame has impacted many indigenous peoples self-worth and looked at how that can potentially affect their ability to become a successful entrepreneur.

“I definitely wanted to bring that up to the Senate and bring light to what I found and how it made sense to my own experiences,” Striped Wolf said.

He added that the Senate was there to listen to the youth, ask questions and generate discussions around what was presented to them.

“Their participation in this study will enhance the Senate’s report of what a new relationship between Canada and First Nations, Metis and Inuit people could look like,” said Senator Lillian Eva Dyck, Chair of the committee.

Striped Wolf hopes these meetings could eventually lead to answers that can further help the problems Indigenous youth face across Canada.

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