Using skills to help the next seven generations
By Shari Narine
Keshia Moffat, 26, has high aspirations. The member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, in New Brunswick, wants to help First Nations develop renewable energy projects.
That’s how she would like to combine her Master of Science degree in environmental sustainability with the skills she is learning from her present position with the Aboriginal Youth Internship program delivered by Eel River Bar First Nation. Through the internship program, Moffat has been connecting current entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs with the resources needed to start or be successful in their own business.
“I believe there needs to be meaningful renewable energy projects coming to our communities but these projects need to bridge together our culture, social, economic, and environmental values. I believe by doing this, sustainability could transpire and bring about enhanced employment opportunities for future generations,” said Moffat.
“This is how I want to give back to my people, I want to use the education and skills gained from my current work experience to be a catalyst for sustainability for the next seven generations.”
She believes environment and sustainability should also include economic development, capacity building socio-economic needs, traditional values and culture values. She adds that it is important that Indigenous youth be provided with resources to seek higher education.
These are the unique outlooks that she would bring to Cando’s National Youth Panel.
Moffat says she is both honoured and humbled to be considered for the panel. “To be nominated instills that reassurance that the direction I am taking in my education and career path is a direction in which I can help bring meaningful knowledge and change to Indigenous people.”
Moffat sets her top three priorities for Indigenous youth as education; providing strategies and programs to help with mental health and substance abuse; and environment. She sees culture playing a strong role in reaching each goal.
“It is important for Indigenous youth to have the knowledge and to continue to practice their culture when it comes to the environment as they are the next generation of leaders and change makers,” she said.
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.