'Y' is for Youth

Written by Megan Dicker

Megan Dicker aboard the CCGS Amundsen near Baffin Island

Megan aboard the CCGS Amundsen near Baffin Island

Growing up in Labrador, it was a natural thing for me to appreciate the beauty around me.

Living in Nain on the north coast has allowed me to become immersed in my surroundings and to appreciate the mountains, sea, and sky. As I grew and travelled, I would fly along the north coast to Goose Bay via Twin Otter, and my admiration for the land continued as I watched the captivating Labrador landscape transition below me.

Arctic poppies in Nain

Arctic poppies in Nain. Photo by Megan Dicker.

As I learned more about my history as an Inuk of Nunatsiavut, I felt compelled to learn as much as I could about my family, our relations, and the environment. I recognize that my experience is similar to many others along the coast and in Labrador in general—there is a yearning to reclaim and revitalize sleeping parts of my culture and identity. Again, there are many beautiful examples of culture and identity all around me. There is beauty in listening to stories from my Nan, in meeting other youth from across Labrador, and in listening to Inuit leaders and other influential Labradorians who are also curious about the world and hope to leave a positive impression.

As a young person, there is a natural curiosity within me.

There is a desire to learn more and to do more. It is important for me to recognize that my history, like many others, has been influenced by colonization and the continuous impacts of oppression. These forces are sometimes silent but they are always present. I also recognize the power of youth and how important—and needed—our voices are. How important my voice is and what I can offer. I am one youth out of many and my experiences are my own. As such, these experiences shape the way I carry myself and how I choose to talk and share all that Labrador is.

Not only are we (the youth) finding our niches and becoming teachers, mechanics, lawyers, electricians, nurses—we are also becoming leaders and role models for both the young and the old. We are hunters, family members, students, friends. We are making a difference in the ways we know how.

Megan (left) and her friend Ruth in the Torngat Mountains National Park

Megan (left) and her friend Ruth in the Torngat Mountains National Park

Personally, my interests steer towards research and language.

I flourish when I delve into these topics. It is empowering to see youth across Labrador thrive in their own rights as well—I see hunters, fishers, millwrights, electricians, artists, nurses, and friends all doing what makes them tick. One of the most important things I have learned thus far is that each and every individual has a unique dream and that no dream is better than the next. We have the capacity to reach those dreams or to at least try.

I am currently studying at Nunavut Sivuniksavut, which is an Inuit Studies program affiliated with Algonquin College. I am learning about land claims, contemporary issues, Inuit history, and many more culturally-relevant subjects. It is inspiring for me to meet young Inuit leaders from across the North and to exchange stories and knowledge.

As youth, we are often told that we are the leaders of tomorrow, but that is not true. We are already leading by example and calling out to organizations, governments, and other public bodies to challenge themselves. We are educating ourselves and asking questions.

As youth, we must ensure that our futures won’t be jeopardized by dated policies, the climate crisis, or lack of communication. It is critically important for us to be connected with one another and to work with our representatives to secure a promising future for everyone.

An educational visit to a glacier in Ilulissat, Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), during the 2015 Students on Ice program

An educational visit to a glacier in Ilulissat, Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), during the 2015 Students on Ice program. Photo by Megan Dicker.

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