More than 50 aboriginal youth are showcasing their images and stories in an online gallery.
With support from the province and Planet IndigenUs, professional aboriginal photographers visited seven communities to mentor youths in Grades 6-8, teaching them about photography and how to use it to tell a story.
Those images are part of a gallery, “In My Own Eyes,” which are now available to view online.
The gallery of photos was launched on National Aboriginal Day (June 21)—a day that recognizes the important contributions that aboriginal people, their cultures, and traditions have made, and continue to make, to Ontario and Canada.
“The ‘In My Own Eyes’ initiative found a unique way to work with Aboriginal Friendship Centre communities by empowering the youth and honouring their perspectives and voice,” said Sheila McMahon, president of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.
“I am delighted friendship centres had the opportunity to participate,” she added.
The communities that participated in this project included M’Chigeeng First Nation, Ojibways of Onigaming, Moose Cree First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.
Urban aboriginal youth in Fort Frances, Toronto, and North Bay also participated.
Mentors were assisted on-reserve by a member of the Chiefs of Ontario’s Young Peoples Council, and in urban settings by a member of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres Youth Council.
Some 43 percent of aboriginal people—First Nation, Inuit, and Métis—in Ontario are under 25 years old.
Planet IndigenUs is a major international cultural initiative of Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, in partnership with the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.