A young woman from Hay River, N.W.T., has been elected the national representative for northern youth with the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Jaylene Delorme-Buggins, 24, is Chipewyan and Cree from Treaty 11 territory. She was already a youth representative with the Native Women’s Association of the N.W.T., but now she’ll represent the North on the national stage.
“It’s a little intimidating, I’m not going to lie,” she told CBC with a laugh. “I haven’t seen half the country. But I’m looking forward to being a role model.”
Though she’s only been in the job for about two weeks, Delorme-Buggins is ready to tackle issues that are facing young people in the North.
“A big one is suicide, the drug issues and a lot of youth feeling helpless,” she said.
Delorme-Buggins is one of four youth representatives across the country sitting on the association’s board of directors.
“We are the up and coming,” she said.
“In the future, when everybody else starts retiring and whatnot, we’re the next generation. We need to be more informed for that.”
In her election speech, she focused on inclusion for the LGBT community, her own mental health and addictions issues, as well as being the child of a residential school survivor.
“I believe strongly in my culture,” she said. “I grew up in a family that was very in tune with the culture. I believe in a lot of the issues that Native Women’s is fighting for.”
Delorme-Buggins wants to encourage more youth to educate themselves and get involved in the community.
“It’s still a learning process. I’m learning a lot about the treaties, the missing and murdered Indigenous…