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Youth section


On February 11, 2021 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm EST, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)’s Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management (AAROM) program held a national youth gathering to hear from Indigenous youth how they can be better supported in their aspirations to follow careers in fisheries, aquatic resources, and oceans science. The gathering took place on a platform allowing for youth to come together from coast to coast to coast. Twenty-two (22) youth registered with seven (7) attending the breakout sessions, some still in high school, some currently attending university in the field, some working in the field, and some working in the field with aspirations for continued studies.

The purpose of the virtual gathering was to have a forum for youth to learn about current AAROM program initiatives and convene and discuss whether these initiatives can help them meet their career aspirations. As well, identify what other future initiatives and meetings are needed to support them in pursuing careers in the fields of fisheries, aquatic resources, and oceans science.

Presentations were given by Elders, DFO experts, and youth panelists. The panelists shared their career journeys, their educational paths, the supports, and encouragements they got along the way, and what they like(d) best about working and studying in this field. Participants engaged in polling questions and breakout sessions to share their views about the supports they need to follow or continue in fisheries, aquatic resources, and oceans science fields. The three main themes that the youth shared is that they are drawn to the AAROM program because it is community-led and engaged, it respects ecological and traditional knowledge, and AAROM departments promote and support youth engagement and career development.
The key takeaways from the session to enable youth participation were to recruit an National Youth Development Officer (YDO) to work with AAROM departments, DFO, or other partners on youth initiatives. In addition, the recruitment of Regional Youth Development Officers would help with the management of the youth program development and implementation at the regional level. There is a need for developed youth programs at the national or regional level using a Western-Indigenous collaborative approach. Individual AAROM departments could take responsibility for programs specific to their expertise and offer online or in-person courses to youth across the country by accessing funding under the AAROM Innovation and Collaboration Fund. This could become part of a career development curriculum with a certificate to help build experience in AAROM departments work environments and create opportunities for youth to become Ambassadors for AAROM network initiatives. The Ambassadors would share their knowledge in classrooms and with youth groups to bring greater awareness to AAROM network initiatives and principles to the emerging leaders in the communities.