Young Indigenous voters in Sask., share their priorities forward of the federal election

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Aly Bear says the voices of younger Indigenous voters are essential on this federal election as a result of they can assist be sure that the subsequent authorities prioritizes Indigenous points which were constantly ignored.

The 30-year-old lawyer, who’s of Dakota and Anishinaabe heritage and initially from Whitecap Dakota First Nation simply south of Saskatoon, says she is going to vote within the upcoming federal election — and like different younger Indigenous voters in Saskatchewan interviewed by CBC News, she expects greater than guarantees.

Bear says she plans to vote within the federal election and desires motion on points that matter to her and her neighborhood, similar to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Aly Bear)

“I feel reconciliation has just become a word that people are now throwing around,” stated Bear. “It’s not being applied.”

Bear stated she has heard lots about reconciliation from federal leaders, together with Liberal chief Justin Trudeau, however not sufficient has been been executed to deal with essential points which were dangerous to First Nations communities.

WATCH | Aly Bear says Canada nonetheless has a protracted strategy to go on the trail to reconciliation: 

Aly Bear says federal leaders must address Indigenous issues

Aly Bear, who is of Dakota and Anishinaabe heritage and originally from Whitecap Dakota First Nation in Saskatchewan, says young Indigenous voters can hold the government to account and spur federal action on Indigenous issues. 0:53

Bear’s priorities for the upcoming federal election include responses to Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and also to ground surveys that found preliminary evidence of unmarked graves found at the sites of former residential schools operated by the federal government and churches. 

“Canada needs to be held accountable,” she said. “The churches need to be held accountable for the genocide that has happened.”

The mother of two — who is also running for the role of third vice chief for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents Saskatchewan’s First Nations — wants action on Indigenous issues.

“Mental health issues, addiction issues and suicide rates — all those things are continuing and almost becoming worse,” said Bear.

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She also pointed to an unfulfilled promise for clean drinking water on all First Nations in Canada, referring to a 2015 pledge by Justin Trudeau to end boil water advisories in Indigenous communities. As of last month, 32 First Nation communities were still dealing with boil water advisories, according to Indigenous Services Canada. 

“You have basic human rights being debated in 2021 in the federal election,” Bear said, referring to federal leaders still discussing the unsolved clean water issue on the campaign trail this year.

“We are sitting at tables for years and we’re not getting the settlements or the justice that is owed.”

Bear said she wants federal party leaders to create more space for Indigenous people in leadership.

“We can do land acknowledgements all we want every single day, but if we’re not creating safe spaces for Indigenous peoples, then what are we really doing?”

Nation-to-nation relationship

Mike, 24, says lives lost at residential schools, clean drinking water and addiction are issues he cares about in this federal election. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

Most federal candidates don’t understand what Indigenous people need, said Jamin Mike, 24, a student at First Nations University of Canada.

Mike, who is from Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation says he is concerned about clean water, addiction issues and vague reconciliation promises, but the biggest election issue for him has been the what federal leaders will do about the evidence of unmarked graves near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C and elsewhere in Canada.

“My community has a residential school that was built right on the reserve,” he said. “Bringing home our children, first of all, is one of the biggest issues that I feel needs to be addressed within this election.”

When not thinking about federal politics, Mike enjoys traditional arts such as beating and quilting. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

He also wants federal leaders to prioritize the the lack of clean water in many Indigenous communities. Mike says he’s used to getting water delivered by truck to his home at his First Nation, which is about 80 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. As a result, families in the community have to conserve water. 

“I don’t think that is fair considering we aren’t even far from cities at all,” said Mike.

WATCH Jamin Mike speaks about Indigenous peoples’ choice to vote 

Jamin Mike says voting is a alternative

Mike is aware of some Indigenous individuals will not vote within the federal election, and says they should not be judged for that as a result of First Nations have a “nation-to-nation” relationship with Canada.

But he does plan to vote and stated that if he had the possibility to satisfy with one of many celebration leaders, he would discuss about help for individuals coping with addictions, amongst different issues.

“We buried a family friend from a fentanyl overdose,” he stated. “We have families out there who are addicted. Where is the hope?

And, to the party leaders he would ask, “How are you able to, by your Western methods, tackle this?”

‘The voices of Indigenous people need to be heard’

Climate change, the education system, food security and clean drinking water are just some of the topics important to Jones Ulriksen, 25. (Matthew Garand/CBC)

Cheyenne Harriet Jones Ulriksen, 25, wants Indigenous people in Saskatchewan to vote in this upcoming election.

The student at University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon is from the Lac La Ronge Indian Band about 375 kilometres north of Saskatoon. She said Indigenous voices need to be heard, particularly those from remote northern communities.

Climate change, First Nations education systems, food security and clean drinking water are just some of the topics important to her during this federal election, said Jones Ulriksen.

  • Use Vote Compass to compare the party platforms with your views.

Looking at the current federal government, she said she doesn’t believe Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are stepping up to the plate.

“They have quite a lot of fairly phrases,” she said.

Jones Ulriksen said opportunities need to be there for everyone in Canada. She wants to see a diverse group of “good individuals within the halls of energy,” she said.

“It cannot be one facet the grass is greener and the opposite facet is dry and dying, just like the grime roads on the reserve,” she said.

WATCH | Cheyenne Harriet Jones Ulriksen says she wants opportunities for everyone in Canada: 

Cheyenne Harriet Jones Ulriksen wants Indigenous people to vote in the federal election

Cheyenne Harriet Jones Ulriksen from Lac La Ronge Indian Band says a various group of federal leaders is required to make sure everybody in Canada has equal alternative. 0:40

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