National Youth Panel

The National Youth Panel was brought forth in an effort to showcase Aboriginal youth. Each year Cando selects six Aboriginal 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.


L-R: Jessica Bolduc, Adrienne Larocque, Pat Alec, Heather Dickson, Ron Archie & Jack Saddleback. Credit: Sean Fenzl Photography


Pat AlecPat Alec
St’at’imc Nation, BC

As a proud member of the St’at’imc Nation, Pat Alec has been actively pursuing an entrepreneurial path in Vancouver, BC. Utilizing his web design and development talents and his experience in communication strategy, graphic design and social media, Pat aims to inspire a healthy and culture-rich lifestyle within First Nations communities. Pat’s educational journey has granted him a diploma from the Interactive Design Diploma Program at Capilano University and recently a certificate from the Ch’nook Aboriginal Management Certificate program at the UBC Sauder School of Business. Currently a freelancer, Pat is the project manager of a year-long fitness challenge within his own community known as the St’at’imc "Walk Your Moccs (WYM)” initiative, a challenge that involves the use of Fitbit devices to attain a healthier lifestyle. In addition to spending time with his family and friends, Pat’s passion for sports, martial arts, and breakdancing has given him opportunities to give back and teach youth at community events in his spare time.

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Ron ArchieRon Archie
Couchiching First Nation, ON

Ron Archie (who prefers to go by his nickname "Magoo”) is Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation in Ontario, a well-known 29-year old father of 3 and entrepreneur who owns and operates M.B Grafix, a sign and graphics shop that specializes in vehicle / boat wraps and window tinting. Ron is also employed full-time as the Land Claims Coordinator and is currently serving his third term on the Couchiching First Nation Band Council. Ron has an education in Finance but decided to leave his studies and second term on Council to take an exciting position that allowed him the opportunity to maybe change a life and use his experience and skills to be a positive role model for at-risk youth in custody at Ge-Da-Gi Binez Youth Detention Centre. Feeling like he made an impact on at least a few lives, Ron decided to follow his dreams of being an entrepreneur. In 2012 he left his secure career to start M.B Grafix and re-enter community politics with a focus on providing a prosperous future full of opportunity for our youth.

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Jessica BolducJessica Bolduc
Batchewana First Nation, ON

Jessica is an Anishinaabe-French from Batchewana First Nation, ON and she is the National Youth Representative for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. In her community, Jessica works with other young leaders to foster arts-based economies, social infrastructure and hub spaces for change makers in Northern Ontario. Jessica’s ability, determination and success in bringing together both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples has been recognized at the national level, where she has taken on the Executive Director’s role at 4Rs Youth Movement, a collaboration of fourteen national organizations who are working with youth to create capacities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people to come together to cultivate understanding and action in support of a better future. Jessica is a deeply caring young change-maker, who lives her truth through her actions. On a daily basis, she lives her beliefs and shows others what it means to be a young Anishinabe-kwe change-maker in today’s society. She respects and values the traditions of her culture, while living and working to make today’s world respond to those traditions and values.

Heather DicksonHeather Dickson
Carcross Tagish First Nation, YT


Heather Dickson, a young woman of Tlingit First Nation originally born and raised in Yukon Territory, has used her traditional and artisan skills of sewing and beading to follow her entrepreneurial path to success in the fashion industry. In addition to her formal training in the form of a diploma in Fashion Design from the Arts Institute of Vancouver, Heather uses the traditional skills she has been learning since she was a child to create respectful and inspired designs. Heather has been making a name for herself with her original company, Dickson Designs. Her accessory line of "Granny Hanky Headbands” has gained popularity with its combination of hand-beaded cultural designs and the traditional granny hanky. To keep up with demand, Heather has expanded her business by employing beaders from across Northern Canada. In addition to her business success, Heather actively stays involved in a Northern Youth Leadership group called "Our Voices,” aiding and empowering First Nation youth respectively. Heather has proven her commitment to promoting her culture and inspiring youth while staying rooted in her First Nation heritage.

Adrienne LaroqueAdrienne Larocque
Louis Bull Cree Nation, AB

Adrienne is Cree from Louis Bull Tribe in Maskwacis, Alberta. She graduated with honors, in Native Studies at the University of Alberta, where her thesis centred on Indigenous governance. She is a motivational speaker and post-secondary education advocate. Sharing her personal journey through post-secondary, speaking about the personal challenges and accomplishments she experienced with youth of all ages. She’s prioritized reaching out to as many Aboriginal communities, schools and organization to share her story.  Adrienne also has an interest with special needs, where she has volunteered with a home-based play therapy program for a child with Autism. Through this program she has been able to bring awareness to others about Autism Spectrum disorder as well as assisting with fundraising efforts. Among her peers, she is considered one of the most dedicated role models, always demonstrating a sincere commitment and responsibility to her Cree culture, her studies and community as a whole.

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Jack SaddlebackJack Saddleback
Samson Cree Nation, AB

Jack Saddleback is from the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, AB and is the current President for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union. Jack made history as being the first trans* identified USSU President and the third Aboriginal identified USSU President. As the former USSU Vice President of Student Affairs with the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union and prior to that, the USSU Pride Centre Coordinator, Jack has been able to make social and systemic change regarding gender and sexual diversity on campus through collaborative leadership. He has helped to change the University of Saskatchewan’s discrimination and harassment policy to include gender identity, gender expression and two-spirit identities. Jack is dedicated to breaking down barriers by showcasing his struggles of being a Cree two-spirit transgender gay man in our society. He is passionate about encouraging others to reach their full potential and strives to empower communities to create inclusive spaces for all peoples. Jack is currently majoring in Sociology and minoring in Entrepreneurship at the University of Saskatchewan with hopes on becoming a Social Entrepreneur.

To learn about past National Youth Panelists please visit National Youth Panel page