#RisingYouth
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#RisingYouth

Celebrating Indigenous Culture in Gander

Q&A’s with Jordan Pottle

Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am from Gander, Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland). Gander is known as being the crossroads of the world, because of our international airport. Every street here is named after a memorable pilot.

What community/communities are you part of ?
I am a member of Qalipu First Nation. I always grew up knowing I was indigenous, however, a lot of my peers did not. It makes me feel good to encourage and enable a cultural foundation and teachings. With every event, or teaching I bring to my community, makes indigenous youth that are just beginning to embrace their culture, a little bit more comfortable.

What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
I am passionate about my community. I enjoy creating opportunities for individuals who may not be able to experience them on their own.

I also enjoy crafts! Of any kind. Most recently I do a lot of bead and seal work. I enjoy being able to do crafts that my ancestors did. I enjoy learning old skills and modernizing them.

How did the idea for this project come to you?
Michael R. Denny is a very respected knowledge keeper from Nova Scotia. He comes to Newfoundland and shares Mi’kmaq knowledge with us. We had dabbled in the idea of hosting a day long cultural day for the community (indigenous and non indigenous). Our youth group is very passionate about encouraging the community to support their indigenous peers. One day, the stars aligned and Michael R. was coming to Newfoundland and we were able to secure funding to make this happen.

What was your motivation behind this project?
The community kept me going! We actually ran into a problem where our knowledge keeper was unable to attend due to a family emergency. This happened the day before our event. We rolled with the punches and still made the event a major success! We had a medicine walk, sacred fire, beadwork displays, womens drumming groups, kids crafts, teepees, labrador tents, cultural foods (moose meat, lynx, bannock, etc), and much more! The community enjoyed it so much that they asked for us to plan another one during the fall (which we did with our knowledge keeper!)

How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
Our ward counsellor was so supportive. We also received support from the Gander Women’s Center and the Town of Gander.

In retrospect, what was the impact of your project?
The impact of this project was bigger than expected. We reached more people in many ways. People who were feeling disconnected to their culture and people who simply just wanted to learn. There was people from all walks of life at this event and they connected and networked with each other.

How has the project impacted you in your everyday life?
It taught me many skills. It enhanced my leadership abilities, organizational skills, and it strengthened our team.

What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
If you have an idea, sign up! Ask for help! And roll with the punches! There’s so many supportive leaders in your community. All you have to do is ask.

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TakingITGlobal

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