Dreams of a better future for all fuel young Metis woman

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019 8:59am


Image Caption

Hannah Nash


“I want to be a voice for all people. And not just Indigenous people. I don’t want anybody in Canada to be mistreated.” —Hannah Nash, 17
By Sam Laskaris
Windspeaker.com Contributor

Hannah Nash has lofty aspirations.

Though the 17-year-old is just finishing off her high school studies now and preparing to enter university in September, Nash is envisioning what she wants her future to look like.

Nash, who lives in St. Albert, Alta., wants to become the Prime Minister of Canada in 2047. She is Metis and an active advocate for her people. Nash will be taking political science classes at the University of Alberta.

Thoughts of becoming the country’s PM surfaced when she was in Grade 9 when candidates were campaigning during the federal election in 2015.

“My parents were talking and they were saying we need someone to stand up for our people,” she said. “They said we need someone like you Hannah. So, I’ve been telling people since then that I would like to run for Prime Minister.”

Nash said her political aspirations are not simply because she wants to just assist those who are Metis. Or Indigenous.

“It’s not just Metis people affected,” she said. “Every group has had their own issues with intergenerational trauma and systematic racism. I want to be a voice for all people. And not just Indigenous people. I don’t want anybody in Canada to be mistreated.”

Nash’s story is one of 10 featured in this year’s RBC annual report. It is titled A Chosen Journey – RBC Indigenous Partnership Report 2019. The report has a heavy emphasis detailing stories of Indigenous youth from across the country.

The report is available online now at  https://www.rbc.com/indigenous/a-chosen-journey.html

It is part of RBC’s commitment to the Calls to Action which came with the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015, which looked at the legacy of abuses of the Indian residential school system in Canada.

One of the Calls to Action was for the country’s corporate sector to work with Indigenous people to create long-term sustainable economic development, employment, social impact and procurement opportunities.

RBC officials believe they are doing just that with partnerships they’ve forged, several of which are detailed in The Chosen report.

Nash’s story in the report includes how she has been volunteering annually with her family since she was four at Edmonton’s Canada Place every National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), which was previously called National Aboriginal Day.

“We would play games and help other children learn how to play the different cultural games,” said Nash, who is a Grade 12 student at Paul Kane High School.

Her volunteer efforts have expanded past simply playing and teaching games to others. Last year Nash helped organized a walk for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a cause dear to her heart, in her hometown.

Nash believes recent reconciliation efforts across the country are a positive thing.

“It’s a good start,” she said. “But we need more. We can do a lot more compared to what Justin Trudeau is doing now.”

Besides having a long-term goal of becoming the country’s Prime Minister, Nash would also like to accomplish some other things as well.

“I hope to get into Law school,” she said. “That would be a stepping stone for me.”

Plus, she also has another political aspiration.

“Some day I would like to run for president of the Metis Nation of Alberta,” she said.

Nash’s story in A Chosen Journey report includes her experiences at Metis Crossing, located about 115 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, near Smoky Lake, Alta.

Metis Crossing is a cultural interpretive centre where Metis can gather to discuss their history and culture.

Nash had attended a camp at Metis Crossing when she was young. She also participated in a week-long camp last year at the facility.

Metis Crossing opened in 2005 with restored Metis homesteads and a barn. The facility also includes an RV park, children’s playground and a music stage for outdoor events.

Thanks to financial support from RBC, an 11,000-square foot facility is being added at Metis Crossing, which will allow for year-round programming and an expected increase in visitors, including international ones.

William Vu, a commercial account manager for RBC, admits he first heard of Metis Crossing at a sod turning ceremony for the new cultural centre in May 2018.

“It was the first time I had heard about our contribution,” he said.

But he fully realizes Metis Crossing’s significance.

“For me it’s a place of history,” he said. “And it’s a place where (Metis) can come and tell their story to the world.”