Day 1 at the Native Youth 2 College Program went great! We started off with an orientation and I really enjoyed learning to dance to the cultural music. Seeing only a small portion of what is to come makes me feel grateful I have been given the opportunity to participate in such a culturally rounded program. Even though I do not know much about my own Indigenous heritage and ancestry, I look forward to becoming more culturally aware of the people around me and taking a step out of my comfort zone. I only wish I knew more about my own culture (“teachings”) and ways of the nation I belong to (Tla’amin Nation- Powell River, British Columbia). Going forward, I hope to become more engaged in my culture and get to know the small Indigenous community to which I belong! I did not know I was of Indigenous decent until recently, therefore I have not grown up with the different cultural aspects of life like my ancestors have. I am proud to say that I am the first person from my nation to participate in this program and will be sure to share this amazing opportunity with the youth of Tla’amin Nation. I want to challenge them to step out of their comfort zone just as I have.
After lunch, we went to the theater for for about an hour and (for me at least) stepped out of our comfort zone a lot. The instructor, Joyce Lu, helped us to trust each other and really get to know one another. For me, this helped build my confidence and got me to push that much further out of my comfort zone. I was impressed with how fun this experience turned out to be and how accepting, open, and trusting the whole group was. At first I was a bit skeptical of the theater and talking in front of everyone, but it really helped me be comfortable and just be me! Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has always been one of my main struggles and taking this opportunity to grow and meet new people at this program has already started to help me grow as a person .
Later in the day, we shared with the group who our rock was and for me, that is my sister. She has always been there for me and has helped build my confidence. She gives me brutally honest advice when no one else will and is not afraid to speak her mind. She has been an amazing role model throughout my life and I know she will always be there for me no matter what.
I also enjoyed learning a cultural song called “The Whale Song”. It made me think of what kinds of songs my Nation back home sings and what they mean. In the future, I look forward to making myself more knowledgable about the singing and dancing aspect of my culture and really reflecting of what “knowing my roots” means to me.