Capturing Climate Change in Old Crow
Q&A’s with Vanessa Oliviero
Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am from a small community in the Yukon and I call it home because I feel a deep connection to the community and the land around me.
What community/communities are you part of ? How does that influence your perspectives on life?
I am an indigenous young person who is also queer and these communities give me the strength to be who I am and share that confidence with others.
What are you passionate about? Where did that passion come from?
I am passionate about working and serving indigenous youth ensuring they are constantly met with positive opportunities, especially on the land or cultural opportunities.
How did the idea for this project come to you?
The idea originally came to me while I was at a youth conference in the community of Mayo. I was joking with a youth worker about taking a trip up to Old Crow Yukon. After the conference, I was determined to travel up to Old Crow. I was deep into photography as a hobby and I knew a youth photography book would be a worthy project.
What was your motivation behind this project? What made you decide to bring this idea to life?
I was determined to travel to Old Crow and I thought a photo book highlighting the issues of climate change and youth engagement would be a worthy project.
How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
My project was supported by the community including the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Government. They offered to contribute funds and staff to support the project. When the book was complete we were invited to present it during the town’s arts festival where community members joined us to celebrate our achievement.
In retrospect, what was the impact of your project? Is it the impact that you expected? If not, how was it different?
The impact of my project was through more of an educational learning experience. I learned that creating agreements with project partners is important to the process to ensure balance. I also learned how to build a photobook and enhanced my editing skills. The final product now lives in over 50 different homes and businesses across the Yukon and BC sharing the vision and knowledge learned on the trip.
How has the project impacted you in your everyday life?
This project really pushed me forward into the work I do now serving the youth of the western arctic. I learned so much about how to plan and execute large-scale youth-focused programs which opened the doors to the work I have been doing for the last two years within youth-serving organizations. I also learned a lot about my creative side and the passion I hold for landscape photography.
Were there some bumps along the road or things you may do differently in the future? How did you overcome those challenges?
Some challenges were engaging youth and finding a way to connect with the younger people who attended the trip with us. Additionally, I learned that creating agreements with project partners is important to the process to ensure balance. I also learned how to build a photobook and enhanced my editing skills.
What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
Youth aren’t the future we are the leaders of today building the future we want to live in. If you have passion and a project idea anything is possible. The rising youth grant was a great opportunity and easy to apply and use. I would definitely suggest it for youth looking at doing small projects.