Kyrstin Dumont says youth have to be confident because self doubt is crippling.
Kyrstin Dumont is only 19 years old and has worked for Service Canada, Wabano and the Ottawa Inuit Child and Daycare Centre. And she’s been building skills in technology and administration to bring back to other youth in Kitigan Zibi.
“To all of these children and all of these youth that are doubting themselves on whether or not to leave or go back, just remember what's in your heart and remember what you want to accomplish and what you want your community to accomplish, because you're one little speck of dust that will make a giant change and you always need to remember that,” said Dumont.
She’s Anishinaabe and set out on her path in large part becuase of her grandfather, Albert Dumont. He wanted help running a blog and Kyrstin Dumont wanted to do her part to help him. Although she hopes to one day work in Indigenous welfare again, she sees these as valuable skills.
Her grandfather also helped her to overcome some self doubt and she wants to see Indigenous youth gain some confidence as well.
“I've doubted myself so many times, whether it be for my skin colour, who I am inside, what I want to do, what makes me happy, and really all I had to do when I was younger was look inside my heart, and that's so hard for so many young people,” said Dumont.
She’s dealt with bullying and racism all of her life. Dumont hopes people confront it and do more to accept white passing Indigenous people, like herself.
For self care Dumont likes to drum, she’ll turn on a CD and drum along with the group, it helps her feel more connected and surrounded by other people. Another way for her to feel inspired is to think about all the strong Indigenous matriachs.
“I always look back at those matriarchs, like Buffy Sainte-Marie and so many other amazing indigenous women. My mom, you know, there's so many people that I look back on and gain inspiration from, and it's just amazing to finally be able to see and to notice, I guess, inspiring idols within the community,” said Dumont.
She encourages youth, even if they lack the skills, to just apply. In her journey, she’s had people take chances on her and help build her skills. Dumont says the experience was so valuable and she hopes people just try.
“People take their own time, they take their own paths, their own ways. It's okay, as long as you are achieving something higher than yourself and that's what I always look at,” said Dumont.
Thanks to Oscar Baker III for writing this article.
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Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.