New FSIN youth leaders elected
- NC Raine | March 23, 2018
Rollin Baldhead and Darian Lonechild are the newly elected (male and female, respectively) Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Youth Representatives.
Elected by their peers at the conclusion of the 2018 FSIN Youth Legislative Assembly in Saskatoon on March 20-22, Lonechild secured the female leadership position with 50 votes, while Baldhead received 63 votes in the male leadership race. They will replace outgoing FSIN Youth Representatives Cheyenne Fineday and Andre Bear.
The newly elected leaders will serve a two-year term, and be responsible to provide direction to the FSIN and Executive regarding youth initiatives and concerns.
“Its been such an emotional experience,” Lonechild told Eagle Feather News. “We all come from communities that have the same issues, and it's hopeful to be here because we're coming together and we're coming up with solutions. I know that the youth hold all the solutions to all these issues.”
Lonechild, from White Bear First Nation and daughter of former FSIN Chief and Vice-Chief Guy Lonechild, says that she's grown up around the FSIN, and is looking forward to inspiring other young women.
“I feel leadership is in my blood, and my passion is there for my people,” she says. “I felt this was a fitting and good time for women to be in leadership, and I want to inspire other women to be in leadership as well.”
Baldhead, from One Arrow First Nation, is no stranger to leadership himself. Along with two other students, Baldhead created Tapwȇ Media Productions – a resource that allows students to connect with Elders through virtual reality.
“Representation for youth is needed,” said Baldhead. “Working with youth, that's where my passion lies.”
Both new leaders say that a priority during their term will be to continue working to create the youth council initiated by outgoing leaders Fineday and Bear.
“I think my main priority is to form a youth council and make sure that the inclusiveness of the LGBTQ youth are involved as well, because suicides are affecting our LGBTQ youth at high rates,” said Lonechild.
“Making a more collective voice and building a council to bring more inclusiveness,” echoed Baldhead. “With youth representation, you're often yelling up to the top to get help, and I would rather switch the power around. Maybe we have to go to our leaders to find an Indigenous framework or structure of governance for the youth.”
The FSIN Youth Assembly brought together nearly 300 Saskatchewan First Nation youth leaders over the three day assembly, providing an opportunity for the youth to network, dialogue, and create their own solutions to the issues that impact young generations today. Guest speakers at this year's assembly included Fear the Walking Dead actor Justin Rain, National Women's hockey player Sydney Daniels, and Saskatoon Rush player Jeremy Thompson.