National Youth Panel
The National Youth Panel was brought forth in an effort to showcase Aboriginal youth. Each year Cando selects six Indigenous youth participants to form the National Youth Panel, a signature event at the Annual National Conference. The selections for the National Youth Panel are based on their strengths, initiatives, accomplishments, entrepreneurial spirit, and participation within their communities.
Congratulations to 2018 National Youth Panelists!
Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, QC
My Canadian name is Dylan Whiteduck, my Algonquin name is Tewehigans Waba-Shishib and I am a proud First Nation Algonquin member with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg (KZA) community. Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg has been a proud member of your organization for many years and I am very pleased with the information and work you do for all Economic Development Officers across Canada.
I am a business graduate student from Algonquin College, ON in the Business Management & Entrepreneurship program and I am currently employed with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community as the Economic Development Officer. The value I bring to this National Youth Panel is understanding the barriers of starting a business as a First Nation entrepreneur. As an enthusiastic First Nation individual, I tend to work as hard as I can for my First Nation community. I am responsible to actively promote and aid KZA community members with the development of their businesses from the beginning to the end. I also carry out related support research for band business ventures and build capacity opportunities for KZA members by organizing business development workshops & training sessions.
There is nothing more rewarding than to come back home and serve my First Nation community. What I contribute to my community is regularly hosting a Youth/Business & Employment Fair. I am an applicant for the CEDI program offered by FCM and Cando. I also volunteer as a member of the KZA Powwow Committee by developing a cultural troupe for dancers, drummers and crafters. These are just some of my ongoing involvement I contribute towards my First Nation community.
Fort Nelson First Nation, BC
Taylor Behn-Tsakoza is Eh Cho Dene and Dene Tsaa and is a proud member of Fort Nelson First Nation in Treaty 8 Territory. Having grown up under the guidance of her Mother, Grandparents, and the values of her Nation, Taylor developed a strong passion for education and sports. She is currently pursuing her degree in Health and Physical Education at Mount Royal University, located in Treaty 7 territory.
Taylor is an exemplary student, athlete and role model with significant leadership skills in and out of the community. Taylor also has a refreshing enthusiasm and energy to give back to her community and family, by way of role modeling, helping out when able, spending time with her grandpa who helped raise her and by taking full advantage of learning her Dene culture and traditions. Her commitment to her education and the endless support from her family has helped Taylor excel in her third year of University at Mount Royal University and in her life. ln recent years, she's ventured off on a solo trip to further her education and world travels in Australia and Hawaii, with a land-based excursion in Morley, Alberta as well. She also sailed the Atlantic Ocean in the inaugural tall ship program, "Msit No'Kmaq: AII My Relations Warriors of the Red Road at Sea." It is through these experiences that Taylor model’s courage, strength, leadership and her traditional teachings.
Taylor’s knowledge of her people’s ways of life has inspired her to use her voice to engage in dialogue about contemporary and historical issues on Turtle Island. The vision of having the future generations be in a position that allows greater influence and healing for her people has driven Taylor in her actions, thoughts and words.
Wacey Little Light
Siksika Nation, AB
Wacey Little Ligth is a third year Blackfoot ecotourism & outdoor leadership student at Mount Royal University. He works closely with his communities of Siksika Nation and the City of Calgary. Wacey is the recent award recipient for the City of Calgary’s Chief David Crowchild memorial award for working towards bridging the cultures of his two communities.
Although Wacey will not admit it because of his humble, traditional upbringing he is a positive role model to his peers. When asked if he felt he was a role model to his peers, he expressed that he aspired to be one and that there are so many deserving young Indigenous leaders out there that he looks up to. He strives to be a contributing member of all communities he is a part of, including the city of Calgary, the Siksika Nation, and the Iniskim Centre at Mount Royal University.
Wacey also volunteers his time whenever he can, he is a member of a non-profit group called Generation Indigenous that holds panel sessions out of the Calgary Library to educate and share with fellow Indigenous peoples. Wacey is also a part of the Office of Indigenization at Mount Royal University that builds reconciliation and relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Another example of Wacey’s great nature is expressed in his long-term goals for himself as he attempts to keep the culture and traditions alive. He hopes to open a Blackfoot Cultural Camp either in the mountains or in his home reserve of Siksika Nation where he wants participants to learn culture, traditions and language.
Whitebear First Nation, SK
Shana Pasapa is a Nakoda woman, originally from the Whitebear First Nation located in in Treaty 4 territory. She will strike you with her power, beauty, strength and wisdom. She draws strength from her mother, family, her traditional spirit name, coaches and training partners. She strives to live each day in honour of her spirit and her voice so that she may fulfill her purpose to help people see the power they already have inside them.
At only 30 years old, Shana is a mother of 2 boys, an MMA fighter, blue belt in jiujitsu training out of Queen City Martial Arts in Regina, Saskatchewan. She is also the business owner of Power Our Women (POW). She found her passion in martial arts 7 years ago. At the time she didn’t realize it, but she was finding her power again. Being a single mother with 2 boys, she persevered through struggles that helped her create a healthier life for her family. POW was born through the realization of how truly important it is to see what the human body is capable of when in dangerous situations - which POW simulates in controlled environments. Shana received the CBC Future 40 Award in 2015, The Strength of Our Women Award for Sports in 2015 and has been a sponsored athlete by clothing companies. Shana is a public speaker and also enjoys coaching track and field for the youth in her community. She believes women and girls deserve to feel strong, confident and protected. She is the type of leader that will leave you feeling empowered.
National Youth Panel Alumni
Samson Cree Nation, AB
Derek Bruno can best be described as an innovator and social entrepreneur. His passion for Community Economic Development (CED) stems from his years growing up on the Samson Cree Nation. These experiences led him to develop a number of successful businesses and innovative programs designed to help solve some of the most challenging issues facing Indigenous communities. His passion has also lead Derek to pursue an MBA in CED from Cape Breton University, serve two terms as a Councillor for his Nation, achieve his goal of becoming a published author and become a sought after motivational speaker. Currently, Derek’s passion is in the area of Renewable Energy and Permaculture Design; having recently established two innovative companies, SevGen Renewables Ltd and WIN EcoSciences Inc.
To learn about past National Youth Panelists please visit National Youth Panel page