First Nations youth are the largest and fastest growing population within the province of Ontario. With over 50% of the First Nations population between 15 – 29 years old, it is critical to strengthen and support efforts for youth development and empowerment at all levels. In First Nations communities, our national identities are solidifying even in the face of economic challenges.
Young peoples across our territories are reconnecting to their languages and their traditions. And their empowerment will grow as our young peoples pursue their educational aspirations and assert their rights. The time is now to hear the voices of Indigenous youth – they are the emerging leaders of today and tomorrow. Youth engagement and initiatives are spearheaded within the Chiefs of Ontario by the Ontario First Nations Young Peoples’ Council (OFNYPC), formally established in 2004 (Resolution 04/09).
OFNYPC serves to represent the collective voice of First Nations youth in Ontario on all matters related to youth, and at all levels of government. COO’s youth coordinator facilitates all activities and initiatives of the OFNYPC. In various forums, meetings, conferences, workshops and training sessions, First Nations youth in Ontario have consistently and strongly advocated for a voice in policy and decision making within our Indigenous Nations and at all levels of government. The Assembly of First Nations also has a National Youth Council. Two members of the OFNYPC represent the Ontario First Nation youth voice at the national level on all matters directed by the regional youth council.