Mackenzie Brown’s goal of becoming national youth panelist now a reality

By Sam Laskaris
Cando Contributor

Mackenzie BrownMackenzie Brown can cross off an item on her bucket list.

Brown, a member of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation in Alberta, vividly recalls attending the 2018 Cando Conference and being in awe of those who were on the National Youth Panel at the time.

“This has been a goal of mine to be on that youth panel since then,” Brown said.

Mission accomplished.

Brown, 26, is one of six individuals that has been selected to the National Youth Panel for this year’s Cando Conference, scheduled for May 16-19. This four-day event will be held at the Dakota Dunes Resort, located on Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan.

“I’m super, super excited,” Brown said of her participation at the upcoming conference.

The National Youth Panel features Indigenous role models from across Canada, who are 29 and under.

Brown will certainly have no shortage of topics to possibly discuss about her various careers.

For example, she owns her own art business, creating and selling her Indigenous acrylic art. Brown also creates beadwork, leatherwork and multi-media work through her business.

Brown also joins her mother Matricia Bauer to form a singing and drumming group called Warrior Women. The duo has travelled extensively throughout Alberta teaching Indigenous culture.

Brown and her mother have also performed in a pair of American cities, New York City and San Diego. And in 2020 they were part of the Canadian contingent that performed in Ivory Coast, at Africa’s largest performing arts festival.

Brown has been a member of Warrior Women since her early teens. The group has been performing since 2010.

Brown, who lives in Calgary, is also the director of industry development for Indigenous Tourism Alberta (ITA). Her responsibilities include creating and leading site tours, workshops and mentoring to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders to advance Indigenous tourism efforts.

Brown has been with ITA since June of 2020. She had also worked in Indigenous tourism prior to that.

For starters she was an Indigenous tourism development intern with the Alberta government. She then joined Edmonton Tourism where she served as its Indigenous tourism development specialist.

Brown said her accomplishments in recent years can in part be traced back to listening to youth panelists at the 2018 Cando Conference, which was held in Enoch, Alta.

“It inspired me to get where I am now,” she said.

Brown’s duties with the ITA include reaching out to various Indigenous communities throughout the province to assist with the development of tourism strategies and economic development plans.

“It means a lot to me for sure,” Brown said of the fact she is able to assist others in Indigenous communities.

Brown is also keen to maintain all of her current chosen paths. She plans to continue her Indigenous tourism work, continue performing with Warrior Women and also growing her art business.
“I believe there is importance in having balance,” Brown said of her various roles.