The first group of young adults who have successfully completed the Hodinohso:ni Ambassador Program at Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP) held a small graduation ceremony on Friday, August 19th to celebrate and acknowledge what they learned over the past four weeks. During the event, several youth spoke about the tremendous impact the program has had on them; some said they never would have been able to speak in front of a group before completing the program.
Throughout the past month, participants in the program were put through rigorous workshops on public speaking, community engagement, personal development, self-awareness, culture and professional development. The group was able to attend the Great Law recital, visit the Woodland Cultural Centre and tour the Mohawk Institute, instilling cultural resilience and fluency.
SNP received funding for this program in April 2016 through the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) Grant. Over the next 48 months, this $900,000 grant will systematize opportunities for Indigenous education and learning for First Nations youth. By launching this youth ambassador model, SNP is fostering cultural identity, self-confidence, and placing considerable emphasis on Indigenous identity construction by encompassing spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being of the youth.
Youth ambassadors participating in this project will also be involved in the upcoming World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE), co-hosted by SNP and Tap Resources. Vital to WIPCE is a powerful and culturally diverse youth forum that encourages youth to engage, participate, and lead issues of significance, as defined by youth.
The program model that has been developed over the past four weeks will be sent to SNP’s partners on this project to be executed in 2017. Partners include: the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI); Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute (KETI); and the Ininew Friendship Centre.
“As co-hosts of the upcoming World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE), Six Nations Polytechnic is committed to getting our young people involved and having an important role at the conference. Participants who have successfully come through the Hodinohso:ni Ambassador Program will have the opportunity to be representatives at WIPCE, which is why it’s so important for them to learn about the history and traditions of our people.”
- Rebecca Jamieson, President-CEO, Six Nations Polytechnic
“One thing I really appreciated about the program is the strengthening of our roots here in Six Nations. With things like going to the Great Law recital, we had these different opportunities to re-immerse ourselves in our own culture and I found it very helpful to solidify the base we have here in our community. Nya:weh Polytech for offering this program. It’s been great.”
- Coral Curley, Hodinohso:ni Ambassador Program Participant
- The ambassador program ran from August 4-31, 2016 at Six Nations Polytechnic and included outings to the Great Law recital, Crawford Lake, and workshops at Thru the Red Door.
- There were 25 participants in the first year of the program
- The ages of the youth in the program ranged from 17 to 24.