Addressing lateral violence important for youth
By Shari Narine
Teagyn Vallevand, 21, is driven to make a difference when it comes to lateral violence and youth.
“I think it's important for youth to understand what lateral violence is, so that we can change our behaviours in the moment and just be kinder, and take back our power in a positive way, rather than continuing the current cycle of fighting and trying to take power from each other - by hurting those closest to us like our peers, family, and community members. If we can understand that lateral violence is a learned behaviour that can be unlearned, we can start taking the first steps towards changing and reclaiming our love and sense of oneness for our communities, and relearn to love ourselves,” she said.
Vallevand and business partner Aurora Hardy operate Youth For Lateral Kindness, which encourages healing and healthy behaviours among Native youth and reconciliation among Yukoners.
Vallevand, a member of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, says they hope to one day expand their services to reach Indigenous youth across Canada.
Vallevand, who works in MP Larry Bagnell’s constituency office and is also working towards a degree in First Nations self-governance and administration at Yukon College, was nominated by Gina Nagano, acting director of justice, for a position on Cando’s National Youth Panel. Wrote Nagano, “Teagyn is a determined individual, passionate about serving her community in any way she can and empowering her peers.”
Said Vallevand of the nomination, “It means that I am doing a good job at what I love to do, and that is to serve my people.”
She feels she can bring a unique perspective to the panel.
“We are now at a point in time where there are many more Indigenous youth throughout Canada who want to know who they are, and reclaim their identities, and resurface our traditions. Coming from a background where growing up I did not have a strong connection to my Indigenous identity because of how inter-generational trauma affected my family, and from my personal experiences of lateral violence, I think I can really relate to many youth out there that are now in the same boat I was in during my high school years,” said Vallevand.
She adds she wants Indigenous youth to feel empowered.
Each year Cando selects six Indigenous youth to form the National Youth Panel, a signature event at the Cando Annual National Conference which will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, from Oct. 22-25. Selections for the panel are based on their strengths, initiatives, accomplishments, entrepreneurial spirit, and participation within their communities.