Project 60: Take Back Your Voice and Vote, Aboriginal Youths Urge Peers
With all the debate among aboriginals on whether to vote in the May 2 federal election, Atlantic First Nation youth are taking a stand on the voting side of the fence. For Project 60, named after the year (1960) that Canada's aboriginals earned the right to vote, young adults from several First Nations produced and posted videos giving their take on how they feel their vote will make a difference.
"In light of the upcoming federal election, First Nation Youth are staking their role by highlighting the emerging importance they are going to be taking in Canadian electoral politics," said an April 21 press release from the Atlantic First Nations. "Native Youth plan to leverage the fact that they are the nation's fastest growing population segment and take on the issue of high on-reserve voting versus traditionally low involvement with national politics and their plans to change that."
The videos were showcased in a videoconference on April 27 where First Nations youth "met" to discuss the use of social media and other new mediums of communication to empower one another and educate their peers "on the importance of voting and the impact of elections have on themselves and their communities," the press release said.
In one video, four Elsipogtog women launch into a rap with the refrain, " 'Cause we're takin' over—one election at a time," to convince their apathetic couch-bound pals to get out and vote.
Young people from the Eskasoni Media Project sport duct-taped mouths with, "silenced," "invisible," "unheard" and "ignored" written on each piece of tape. A girl without tape speaks for them: "These people are invisible. Silenced. They don't have a voice," she intones. "Or at least they think they don't." The video proves them wrong.
"If we the youth decide not to vote, who will make all our decisions?" asks Carly Sappier, accompanied by a rock-and-roll track in the Tobique Youth video. "The day will come when issues will affect you. Where will you stand?"