Hola , my name is Ivan Arturo , I was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia. I have been living in Montreal with my family for several years now. The experience of immigration in Quebec was extremely rewarding but also very challenging. Understand my role in Canadian society and my identity(s) is a journey with many twists and turns. Opportunities to work with young people from different backgrounds in Canada and abroad have allowed me to learn about my own culture but also how I can be an agent of change in Canada.
For about two years I work and shared some very rewarding moments with First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth. Learning about their different cultures and realities I saw there was a big gap between what we are taught and the rich culturally diverse that I learned. The most important of these experiences: friendship and solidarity forged between us. I believe it is essential to create more spaces to facilitate these relationships. Since I have had a better and more complete version of history in Canada and Turtle Island things makes a lot more sense to me. I realized that the stories I grew up with are not so alien and rather similar to those of Nations in the northern hemisphere of the Americas and what they tell us are for the most part, the most relevant solutions to the challenges of our societies.
My name is Emily Gwun-Shun Lennon. Originally from Edmonton, I currently live in Montreal where I study Anthropology at McGill University. As a non-Indigenous youth, I am in the process of learning about what it means to decolonize oneself and the true meaning of reconciliation. Growing up, I was forced to straddle two worlds: my father’s Ontarian-Irish and my mother’s Hong Kongese heritage. It is with this experience that I hope to act as a bridge between people of different backgrounds, not merely Indigenous or non-Indigenous, so we can all learn to understand and respect one another. I am thankful to Canadian Roots for empowering us and providing us with the space to come together from across the country as youth representatives. Together we will create real change!
My name is Widia and I am Anishinabe and Québécoise. My mom is Anishnabe and comes from a community called Timiskaming First Nations in western Québec and my dad is Québécois and comes from a town called Rimouski in eastern Québec. They ended up moving to Quebec City, where I grew up most of my life. I’ve now been living in Montreal for 6 years and I’ve been working for 5 years as a Youth Coordinator at the Quebec Native Women Association in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake.
Salut! My name is Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and I was born in Montréal, Quebec, but grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2009, I returned to Montréal as an undergraduate student and recently completed a Joint Honours degree in Anthropology and Canadian Studies at McGill University. In solidarity with Indigenous Peoples worldwide, my work, volunteering and activism focus on issues of social and environmental justice. As the daughter of a francophone, québécois father and an anglophone, Ontarian mother, I am proud of my bilingual heritage, but also becoming more aware of the deep effects of colonization on all peoples living in Canada. Conscious of my settler-background, as a non-Indigenous youth I am passionate about encouraging meaningful dialogue and cultural exchanges based on respect and integrity. My experiences with the youth of Canadian Roots have taught me the importance of sharing our stories – and listening to one-another – in order to create respectful spaces to build bridges of understanding. As these bridges strengthen, allowing for reconciliation and decolonization to occur, I believe we can create positive change and move forward collectively.