AFN National Youth Council
AFN Annual Report 2012-13
The AFN National Youth Council (AFN NYC) operates as a 20-member council representing First Nations youth from each of the 10 AFN regions (each region has one male and one female representative). This national body represents First Nations youth across the country on issues that impact them on a daily basis. The NYC provides insight to the AFN committees and working groups, as well as the AFN secretariat on various youth related issues.
Key Issues and Activities
The AFN NYC continues to establish partnerships that will enhance their reach in addressing issues impacting our young people through a more holistic approach. Over the past year the Council has been advancing a national joint initiative that involves national youth serving organizations and national Aboriginal organizations, who seek to work together on improving services for Indigenous youth and making sure that the voices of Indigenous youth are heard widely, not just within their respective organizations. The initiative is also looking to move forward on creating networks and collaboration around the needs and goals of Indigenous children and youth.
Health and Wellness
The AFN NYC continues to collaborate closely with the AFN Secretariat on a number of activities related to health and wellness. Key areas of focus for this past year have been in mental wellness and sports and recreation.
The AFN NYC participated in the Feathers of Hope conference, which took place in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The conference focused on youth suicide prevention and mental health.
The AFN NYC also participated in the delivery of a presentation to the 2013 National Aboriginal Physical Activity Conference that included a review of the IndigenACTION Report and explored next steps. The NYC continues to seek opportunities at national, regional and community levels to advocate in the areas of obesity, chronic diseases and the importance of physical activity.
The AFN NYC has been actively involved with social development issues. The NYC continues to seek innovative and effective approaches that will help First Nations youth find alternative sources for financial sustainability other than income assistance.
The AFN NYC also participated in activities and meetings that dealt with adult and child care. One of these activities involved partnering with the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society and the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (Ontario) in the making of “Letters to Canada”, a video which involved young people raising awareness about the inequities faced by First Nations children and youth.
Members of the AFN NYC also took part in the development of the “Living a Life of Integrity” video, which brings the conversations of eight Indigenous men into a collection of messages on love, respect and honour. The goal of the video was to assist in overcoming violence and creating change.
While there have been delays in delivery of the National Youth Summit and providing a forum for First Nations youth to discuss important issues and priorities, the AFN NYC and its partners remain dedicated to providing youth with this much needed opportunity. Planning is once again underway and the National Youth Summit is on track to take place in Saskatoon this fall.
Guided by Resolution 02/2012 the AFN NYC continues to work with the Elders and Women’s Councils, through a Tri-Council approach, to identify opportunities for increased involvement in Secretariat activities and to provide an effective voice in determining AFN priorities and ways to collectively address key issues.
Forums and Gatherings
Throughout the last year the AFN NYC was represented at a number of national forums and gatherings dealing with subject matter, including but not limited to education, Treaties, community violence, and public health.
AFN NYC representatives participated in the meeting between First Nation leadership and the Prime Minister and federal representatives on January 11, 2013. The NYC felt it was extremely important for young people to be present to hear the dialogue, to communicate what was heard at this meeting to First Nation youth across the country and following the conclusion of the meeting, hold the Government of Canada accountable to the commitments that were made at the meeting.
The AFN NYC has been and continues to be an integral part of the AFN Executive Committee. The NYC Co-Chairs participate in AFN Executive meetings and, while they do not have voting ability at the Executive table, they provide advice to the AFN Executive on leadership issues relevant to First Nation youth.
Next Steps - Moving Forward
- Successful delivery of the 4th National First Nation Youth Summit resulting in the development of a new five-year action plan that addresses First Nation youth issues.
- Continued efforts to solidify meaningful and effective involvement in the ongoing work of the AFN Secretariat.
- Advancement of the recommendations stemming from the IndigenACTION roundtables and report, as well as efforts to develop healthier First Nation communities.
- Continued dialogue with the other members of the AFN Tri-Council and initiate work toward the development of an annual workplan.
- Work to secure sustainable funding for youth activities from sources other than government.
- Heighten awareness and public visibility of the AFN NYC.
- Enhance the work that has been done previously on toolkits and interactive tools which are designed to assist First Nation youth.
- Continue to improve accountability and transparency at the AFN NYC table.