Young people focus of Indigenous Peoples Day program on CBC North

Colin Wolf, left, and Mahalia Yakeleya-Newmark, right, are among the young Indigenous people being featured on a special edition of CBC’s Midday Cafe on National Indigenous Peoples Day (Gwaandak Theatre, Submitted by Mahalia Yakeleya-Newmark)

Young Indigenous people are finding their voices and making changes in the North. 

To mark National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, CBC North is amplified those voices on a special edition of Midday Cafe with Leonard Linklater.

Colin Wolf, the artistic director at the Gwaandak Theatre in Whitehorse, Yukon, said he struggled to express himself when he was young — growing up with one parent who was Metis and another who was on disability.

“I felt like I was seeing and experiencing a lot of things I didn’t think were good. For example, racism, sexism and ableism,” he said. “I didn’t have the language to articulate it.”

But as he learned more about art and theatre, Wolf said he became more confident in expressing himself and speaking out against inappropriate comments made by friends.

“Working at a theatre company as assistant director, I feel like I’ve been exposed to even more situations where I can apply these sorts of abolitionist, anti-oppressive lenses.”

Mural project in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Sisters Kalina Newmark and Mahalia Yakeleya-Newmark are the co-founders of a mural project in Yellowknife, N.W.T. that will highlight the work of young Indigenous people in the territory this summer.

“We really love murals because they’re accessible, and art should be accessible to all people,” said Yakeleya-Newmark.

“Murals not only give all people in our community a chance to engage with art but they also reclaim space. They let people know we’re here and this is what’s important to us, and this is what we want you to know about who we are.”

Connecting with the land

Jaydin Nunagaq, a highschool student in Iqaluit, Nunavut, said connecting with the land has helped him explore both the world — and himself.

“Some people don’t want to follow in the footsteps of their family, but also, learning from your family can definitely help you learn more about yourself and open yourself up to things,” Nunagaq said.

These young people will be sharing their stories on a special edition of Midday Cafe with Leonard Linklater Monday at noon in Yukon and noon in the Northwest Territories. You can listen to the episode on CBC North’s website.

Related stories from around North: 

Canada: Seal meat, dinosaurs and friends: Nunavut Day celebrated in Canada’s eastern Arctic, CBC News

Greenland: International Inuit Day is an occasion to affirm Inuit voices across the circumpolar world, says leader, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Calls for more Indigenous protection in Sweden on Sami national day, Radio Sweden

United States: Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated in Alaska, Alaska Public Media

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