Indigenous Youth Charting a New Way Forward

TORONTO, ON - Indigenous youth are shaping the future for Canada, stepping forward with bold ideas rooted in culture in order to create a new way forward for their peoples and communities. Some of their stories are featured in the latest edition of A Chosen Journey, RBC’s annual report on its Indigenous partnerships.

First launched in 2008, A Chosen Journey highlights Indigenous-led efforts to build sustainable communities; drive economic growth; and lead powerful change in important areas like skills and career development.

“Indigenous youth are at the forefront of reconciliation, and so we at RBC are determined to listen to them and be guided by their perspectives so that we can offer our help and partnership in a genuine way,” said Dale Sturges, National Director, Indigenous Financial Services, RBC. “With this report, we once again affirm our commitment to the reconciliation journey by sharing stories about all the incredible work Indigenous youth are undertaking to generate meaningful change for the benefit of their people and communities, and Canada as a whole.”

This year’s report highlights inspiring youth who have proudly embraced their culture and passions to affect positive change in their community. Some examples include:

  • The story of Patrick Hunter, an emerging Indigenous artist who is using art to more closely connect with his Ojibwe heritage and mentor his peers who may be struggling to find their way.

  • How Mia Otokiak, an Inuk and lifelong resident of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, is empowering Artic youth to be a bridge between Artic science and their communities so organizations studying the effects of climate change on the Artic can meaningfully engage Artic communities to address their local concerns.

  • The RBC Emerging Artist Showcase, which enables artists like Ila Barker to leverage the power of music and the arts to connect different generations of Indigenous peoples to their homes, culture and land.

Also included in the report are powerful stories about Indigenous community development initiatives designed to foster belonging, pride and inclusiveness, and increase access to education and economic development:

  • The development of Metis Crossing in the Metis Nation of Alberta, which acts as a place where people can gather, celebrate and learn about the Metis people and their unique journey, all told in their own language and on their own terms.

  • Saulteau First Nation’s efforts to tackle development and infrastructure challenges in their community with innovative financing approaches that allow them to invest in their community today, without needing to wait for federal government funding and grants.

  • Shoal Lake 40 First Nation’s work to build Freedom Road, a new all-weather access road that connects the community and its residents to the mainland, and opens up to them new opportunities for growth and development.

Looking inwards, the report also profiles RBC employees like Jadelyn Psutka, Jake Karasin and Jessica Shute who describe their career paths, personal journeys and how RBC has assisted them professionally and personally, including providing them with encouragement to stay connected with their culture.

“Each year, we continue to be amazed by the depth and power of Indigenous success stories featured in A Chosen Journey,” Sturges said. “But this year’s report is truly transformational given the ways in which Indigenous youth are proudly taking on the economic, social and community challenges facing them. We look forward to continuing to tell even more success stories in the years to come.”