Bonnita Preston: Love and Loss

This past week has been very busy. We attended more cultural forms that other teams put on and learned even more about various indigenous cultures. After the forums, we came up with new ideas for different types of cultural forums. This last week we put on a forum where we shared legends from our indigenous cultures. It was very special to hear the youth sharing their culture’s legends and having the chance to integrate the oral teachings into our lives.

As a Metis person I have both European and First Nations ancestry. I decided to share the “legend of the Selkie marriage” from the European part of my ancestry. The Selkie marriage is a legend that was passed down to me orally at a medicine ceremony in Guatemala four years ago. It is a story of a half seal half woman who brings the lessons and teachings of sovereignty into our lives.

This past couple of weeks during the internship has not been easy for me. My little brother, Mack passed away and I have been taking the time to bereave the loss. My brother struggled his whole life with the same intergenerational trauma most of us indigenous youth have to live with today. Mack never had access to very many opportunities.

Opportunities to participate in programs like this one help me to believe in my future and give me something to be proud of at the end of the day. My experience in this program is an empowering one. This program gives indigenous youth a voice and a space to share cultural and environmental education for sustainable development.

It is an incredible moment for indigenous youth to contribute to community and cultural development. I know I will take these new skills and experiences and turn them into a meaningful contribution to my communities. There needs to be more programs like these for youth, especially indigenous youth.

I love working with my team at Brigada de Voluntarios Bolivarianos del Perú and at Canada World Youth. I am very grateful. I look forward to sharing more details with you about our projects in the next entry.