OHSWEKEN — A group of 25 youth ranging in age from 17 to 24 completed the inaugural session of the Hodinohso:ni Ambassador Program at Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP).
A small graduation ceremony for the participants was held on Friday to celebrate and acknowledge what they learned throughout the four week program.
Throughout the past month, participants were put through rigorous workshops on public speaking, community engagement, personal development, self-awareness, culture and professional development.
“One thing I really appreciated about the program is the strengthening of our roots here in Six Nations,” said Coral Curley, one of the program’s participants. “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.”
SNP received funding for the program this spring through the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) Grant.
Over the next 48 months, this $900,000 grant will create more opportunities for Indigenous education and learning for First Nations youth — 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.
President and CEO of Six Nations Polytechnic, Rebecca Jamieson said, “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.”
The program model has been sent to some of SNP’s partner institutions in other First Nations communities where they will run their own ambassador programs in 2017.