Creating a safe space for urban Indigenous youth

September 5, 2017

Youth from Native Montreal created a Community Action Project this year to strengthen roots and build a sense of connection amongst Indigenous youth. They identified challenges in mobilizing Indigenous youth to come to their meetings as a key issue they wanted to tackle together. As a catalyst for change, they organized a community event and invited youth from across Montreal with the aim of getting them interested in weekly meetings, and creating a dedicated safe space where youth could come together, and where they felt a sense of belonging to. As part of the event, youth decorated the space, and Indigenous youth working as chefs offered up traditional Indigenous food to those attending.

After cooking at the event, George Lenser, an Indigenous chef from British-Colombia realized that Indigenous cuisine does not have a strong presence in Montreal. He decided to host a cooking show in the youth space and was profiled in CBC Montreal and Eater Montreal.

For Native Montreal, they shared that participating in Speaking Rights and doing a Community Action Project, helped to build momentum. It built as space, led to exchanges of ideas about identity and helped to lay the foundation for more projects and activities that will build links between Indigenous youth in Montreal and with the wider community.

“Inclusion was the keyword. Indigenous youth finally had a place to meet other youth that are living the same sociopolitical aspects of being natives in Montreal. I feel that they finally were being respected as native youth.” Youth worker, Native Montreal, QC