Programs for Indigenous Youth

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CWY coordinates programs specifically created for Indigenous Youth volunteers to help increase their leadership and employability skills.

  • Indigenous Youth Leadership Program

    All CWY programs are open to Canada’s Indigenous youth. CWY also offers programs specifically designed for Indigenous youth, including some that involve living and working with Indigenous communities in other countries, with the support of CWY’s international and Canadian partners.

    The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program builds on the core components of CWY’s youth programming model that has existed for 43 years. It is an asset-based program centered on Indigenous knowledge and culture and delivered in partnership with Indigenous communities.

    The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program consists of intensive experiential learning opportunities aimed at providing participants with the knowledge, skills and strategies necessary to prepare them to pursue academic goals and employment and to become catalysts for change through community development and multilateral cooperation regionally, nationally and internationally.

    The four pillars of the program include overseas exchanges, youth forums, internships and the United Nations seminars.

    1.  The International Aboriginal Youth Internships will have 20 interns over the next two years in four communities in Colombia. This initiative is intended to:

    -Provide valuable work experience for Indigenous youth, raising their employability and/or empowering youth to further their education post-internship;

    -Provide opportunities for Indigenous youth to increase their awareness of, and contribution to, Canada’s international development efforts through participation in youth internships with local partner organizations; and

    -Build the capacity of Indigenous youth to promote Canada’s international development efforts both in Canada and abroad.

    In order to qualify, Indigenous youth must be between the ages of 18 and 35, and complete a secondary school diploma (or equivalent certification) and/or equivalent work experience related to the internship description. Click here to find out more, click here for frequently asked questions and Extended Application Deadline: May 24th – click here to apply.

    2.  Youth exchanges are developed in partnership with international and Canadian partners. These exchanges vary in length and are planned in advance with Indigenous communities and organizations. The educational approach in exchanges provides an intensive hands-on, self-directed learning in a semi-structured environment and facilitates active participation of youth in all stages of the experience and learning process.

    3.  The United Nations seminar will provide Indigenous youth with an annual opportunity for Indigenous youth to increase their knowledge on the United Nations programs, mechanisms and bodies; Canada’s role at the UN; and the Indigenous peoples participation in the UN systems. Each seminar begins with skills training on the United Nations, Indigenous peoples and key issues/priorities affecting Indigenous peoples. The seminar includes additional learning and hands-on experiences with key United Nations events such as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples annual meeting. Each participant is required to conduct research on issues/themes of interest and prepare a paper to be reviewed by peers. A presentation of the paper is done by the youth in a public forum and/or is published.

    4.  Youth forums provide training opportunities and workshops in a conference setting on issues and themes affecting Indigenous youth. The forum is also a gathering of youth to discuss and participate in learning activities and is supported by experts within a given field. The forum is an opportunity for youth to work together in dialogue to shape and direct issues and themes important to Indigenous youth and establish networks of mutual interest and support.

  • World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

    GCG-WCIP-LOGO-ENG-300x174The High-Level Plenary meeting of the 69 session of the General Assembly known as the “World Conference on Indigenous Peoples” (WCIP) will be held on 22-23 September 2014 at the United Nations in New York. Themes for the WCIP include United Nations system action to implement the rights of indigenous peoples; Implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national and local level; Indigenous peoples lands, territories and resources; and Indigenous priorities for the post- 2015 sustainable development agenda. The WCIP will result in a concise, action-oriented outcome document prepared on the basis of inclusive and open informal consultations with Member States and indigenous peoples. The indigenous peoples from around the world, member States to the UN, UN bodies and organizations, intergovernmental organizations and the nongovernmental organizations are anticipated to take part.

    ITK_Web_Full_TransparentBackground_400x458Canada World Youth is sending a delegation of indigenous youth from Canada, Greenland and USA (Alaska) to participate in the WCIP. This delegation is the result of CWY’s commitment to collaborate with indigenous peoples and communities on youth issues, priorities and needs. CWY met with representatives of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), Intuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) during the 2014 ICC General Assembly to discuss sending a delegation of indigenous youth to the WCIP in September.

    Through the NIYC, seven (7) Inuit youth delegates were identified from Alaska, Greenland and Alaska (USA).  In addition, five (5) Aboriginal youth delegates from CWY’s Indigenous Youth Committee will be part of the delegation.

    This intensive 4-day experiential learning opportunity will provide indigenous youth with the knowledge, skills and strategies to prepare them to work with member states and indigenous peoples in multilateral international development and cooperation. In addition, indigenous youth will have an opportunity to voice their issues, priorities and needs in an international forum, and acquire knowledge and skills in working with United Nations mechanisms and bodies.

  • Labrador Indigenous Youth Abroad to Parakuyo, Tanzania

    Canada World Youth and the Labrador Aboriginal Youth Abroad Committee,which involves the Nunatsiavut Governement, Department of Health & Social Development and Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation, and Labrador communities of Nain, Hopedale, and Sheshatshiu, have designed a project for Indigenous youth from the Labrador communities of Nain, Hopedale, and Sheshatshiu that offers an experiential learning project in Tanzania, Africa.

    The hands on experience will enable youth to help the Maasai community of Parakuyo by planting trees, building projects, working with youth in teaching English, and participate in sports and recreation activities. One Laptop per Child will provide tablets to youth in the project containing learning applications to support learning skills. For more information please see

    The youth will be staying in the Parakuyo village, Kilosa, Morogoro region,Tanzania, which is a small community of 3,000 Maasai people.

    Thank you to our partners:

  • Aboriginal Youth and Confederation – Learning from the Past: Building for the future

    In Partnership with Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI), Canada World Youth co-hosted the Aboriginal Youth and Confederation – Learning from the Past: Building for the Future symposium in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on June 26-28, 2014.

    This symposium brought together Indigenous youth from across Canada and Indigenous young people had an opportunity to identify and prioritize their needs, issues and ideas in the context of Confederation and its impacts on Indigenous people in the past, present and future.

    CWY Parents

    We also offer a diversity of other programs for which Indigenous youth are strongly encouraged to apply:

    • Youth Leaders in Action

      The Youth Leaders in Action program is a unique 6-month program for youth between the ages of 17 to 25. This reciprocal program is divided into 2 phases of 2-3 months, one in Canada and one overseas, where youth from Canada and the partner country take part in both of those phases. During the program, the youth volunteers contribute to community-driven development projects which focus on health, the environment or gender equity, live in host families and take part in youth-led educational activities.

    • Global Learner

      The Global Learner program aims to promote global citizenship through the direct participation of youth in community-driven development projects. The program provides youth groups or individual participants aged 15 and over with a rich educational experience of 2 weeks to 3 months through volunteer work placements, host family living, educational activities and critical reflection.

    • Student Network

      On Canadian university campuses from British Columbia to New Brunswick, student members of the CWY Student Network are raising awareness about the role of youth in building a more equitable and sustainable world, and are in turn developing their own leadership skills and knowledge about international development. This network of engaged young Canadians, many of whom are CWY alumni, encourages global citizenship through local actions.

    • Leadership Awards

      The CWY Leadership Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of young Canadians and youth from around the world who are engaged in initiatives that promote sustainable development at the local or international level.

    Who can participate?

    As an Indigenous youth from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities between the ages of 17 and 35, you are welcome to apply to any of our programs. All of them have different criteria for age, language skills and time commitment. Visit each program section to find out more.

    Programs for Aboriginal YouthYou can connect with CWY Indigenous Alumni
    Over the last 40 years, hundreds of Indigenous youth from communities across Canada have participated in CWY’s unique leadership programs. Want to know more about their experience?

    We encourage you to take a look at video and written testimonials from our Indigenous alumni.

    We can also connect you directly with CWY alumni who can share their experiences with you. They will be able to tell you more about leaving their community and their time on the program as well as support you through our application process. Contact our Alumni and Volunteer Coordinator, Katrie Gagné, at or 1-800-605-3526 ext. 321 who will connect you with an alumnus near you.


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