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Gabrielle Fayant: The Power of Grassroots and Youth

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


The Indigenous Law Students’ Association’s annual Speaker Series continues today (in-person and virtually), with speaker Gabrielle Fayant, who will be speaking on The Power of Grassroots and Youth.


Photo credit: https://sencanada.ca/en/sencaplus/news/meet-the-voices-of-youth-indigenous-leaders-2022-participants/


Gabrielle Fayant is a Métis woman from Fishing Lake Metis Settlement in Alberta. [1] She has worked for numerous Indigenous organizations, including the Native Women's Association of Canada, Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and First Nations Information and Governance Centre. [2]


She has experience on a variety of “local, regional and national advisory committees and councils,” and with TV and radio in many capacities. [3] She is the access producer, writer, and host of the TV show called Noongom, which highlights Indigenous peoples’ experiences today. [4] She is also a co-host and producer of the radio show Michif Hour, which focuses on Métis artists, and Métis history and current issues. [5]


In addition to her many achievements, and the many projects she is part of, Fayant is the co-founder of the grassroots youth initiative, Youth For Northern Communities. [6] She is also the co-founder of the Assembly of 7 Generations (A7G), which is “an Indigenous-owned and youth-led, non-profit organization focused on empowering youth.” [7] A7G’s work includes things like “Friday night drop-ins, crisis intervention, and land-based activities,” but Fayant expresses that they would be able to do much more if they had access to stable funding. [8]


Fayant’s focuses on grassroots organizations and Indigenous youth go hand-in-hand with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #66, which is a call for the federal government to “establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation, and establish a national network to share information and best practices.” [9] Funding is still a major issue, and Fayant continues to work to have this Call to Action implemented.


Her continuous efforts are in part inspired by her realizations of how Indigenous youth have been, and still are, targets of colonialism and assimilation. For example, Canada has targeted Indigenous youth through residential schools, the sixties scoop, and the current child welfare system, and Indigenous youths are also highly affected by police brutality, overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and constitute many of the missing and murdered Indigenous girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Canada. [10]


Fayant also works with many Indigenous youth who are dealing with impacts of colonialism such as mental health issues, poverty, and a lack of housing. [11] As stated by Fayant, it is unfair that during this time of reconciliation, “Indigenous youth have to carry the burden of healing through the trauma they didn’t impose on themselves.” [12]


Fayant’s work with Indigenous youth, and her passion for cultural resurgence and empowerment, influence her work to have Call to Action #66 implemented. As part of these efforts, Fayant worked with Indigenous youth leaders, and established the Voices of Indigenous Youth Council, to develop implementation recommendations. [13] One recommendation was that for reconciliation efforts to be meaningful and impactful, they will “require tangible action from non-Indigenous communities,” because reconciliation is a chance for Canadians to right the wrongs of this country. [14] They also found that for Indigenous youth, traumas from the past still affect their present, which means reconciliation efforts must “address the legacy of trauma due to colonization, residential schools, and inequity,” in order to “meaningfully respond to important issues identified by Indigenous youth.” [15]


Gabrielle Fayant has extensive and well-rounded experience working to advance reconciliation, cultural resurgence, and Indigenous youth empowerment. Her talk is a must-see this week at the Speaker Series.


Check out this link for more details about the Speaker Series, and to register (for free) to see Gabrielle Fayant’s talk today, and the speakers for the rest of the week!


Until next time,

Team Reconcili-ACTION YEG





[1] “About Gabrielle Victoria Fayant” (2023), online: Linkedin <https://ca.linkedin.com/in/gabriellefayant>.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Gabrielle Fayant” (2023), online: Indspire <https://indspire.ca/laureate/gabrielle-fayant-2/>.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Supra note 1.

[7] “Indigenous youth target of colonization says advocate Gabrielle Fayant” (16 February 2023), online: APTN National News <https://www.aptnnews.ca/facetoface/indigenous-youth-colonization-systemic-racism-gabrielle-fayant/>.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action” (2015) at 8, online (pdf): <https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf>.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Gabrielle Fayant, “TAKE 5: Indigenous Youth Voices” (2018), online (pdf): YouthREX <https://youthrex.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Take-5-IYV-Gabrielle-Fayant.pdf>.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.


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