Right from the earliest conception of the Tracking Change project, there has been one consistent message from the Elders – we must involve youth. Project partners emphasized the importance of engaging youth in all aspects of our research project including the definition of research priorities and key issues for study. Some of the youth/young adults involved in the project have been graduate students from various universities. But given that post-secondary enrollment in the north is low, finding ways to engage with other students, particularly Indigenous youth, at the junior and high school level has also been a key priority.
How have we engaged youth in our project so far?
To engage Indigenous high-school students in the project the Tracking Change team hosted bi-annual Youth Knowledge Fairs (YKF) at the University of Alberta. Through the Youth Knowledge Fair, students were able to learn more about research, science and gain exposure to a university environment. But we found that we can also learn from youth; they are our future leaders and their ideas matter! Outcomes from the student projects helped us to identify key areas for future research to support the goals of Tracking Change…
A really exciting outcome of the 2018 YKF was that several students were selected to travel to Poland to attend the 24th United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP24) in 2018. They even got to stop off in Paris, France to share their ideas with the Canadian Lead for UNESCO.
Learn more about the Youth Knowledge Fairs and the trip to COP24 by selecting the events from the sidebar.
If you are a young person, how can you get involved in community research?
Connect with your Elders
- First and foremost, talk to your family. Your kôhkom and mósom, and your aunties and uncles have stories to tell you. Be patient and listen. It’s the best way to learn.
- Most communities in Canada have an Elders group. Find out who the Elders coordinator is and reach out to them to see if you can meet with the Elders. Bring your friends!
Volunteer in the community
- The Elders Center isn’t the only place to visit – check with our Lands Department or Government/Industry Relations office to see if they need any help with projects. You might even get to go into the field with your community Guardians.
- There is sometimes even funding available for youth projects in the community. If you have an idea for a project that will benefit your community, check with your Band or Treaty Office and keep an eye on websites such as to get it funded. Sometimes a little bit of money can go a long way!
Ask your teachers to look at the Tracking Change Curriculum
- Visit the classroom section of our website for curriculum ideas for your teachers. These lesson plans include information about some of the Tracking Change community-led projects, instructions on how to conduct your own analysis, and has ideas for projects that you can do in your community
Share your stories
- Talk about what you are learning through social media! Youth across Canada and globally need to be inspired to learn about their culture and who could be more inspiring than you?
- Check out the storybook co-written by our own Kaydence Storr – it’s a great example of sharing your knowledge.
Resources for Youth
- There are lots of great online resources for Indigenous youth and, if you are interested in youth activism there are some really great organizations that are helping to mobilize young Indigenous voices. Who knows, maybe you could even lead one of these organizations one day.