Theland Kicknosway may be young, but is already proving to be someone to keep an eye on in the future.
Kicknosway is Cree and Potawatami from Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario, but currently lives in Ottawa, ON.
He is 17-years-old and currently still in high school, but has plans for what he wants to do when it comes to his post-secondary education.
“Some of the things that actually interest me are the Indigenous Education Course, but in general, I think education is important, not only western, more what they teach you in school, but also indigenous education as well,” said Kicknosway.
“So to mix both of those worlds together, I think is really awesome. So I’m really looking down that pathway.”
Even though he hasn’t yet made the transition from high school to university, he still has advice to give himself when he eventually does, and it’s to know that whatever it is he is doing it’s a good thing.
“It’s for not only my own learning and my own education, but also for this opportunity to learn as much as I can now. So then I can teach others some of the stuff that I was able to learn at post-secondary,” said Kicknosway.
He also says going into it, he knows that his ancestors will be there to guide him through the western and societal way of education while still maintaining traditional ways.
“So I can hold both of those types of learning and then moving forward, learning about how to teach others and inspire others at the same time,” said Kicknosway.
In terms of inspiring others, Kickosway is already doing that. He was the recipient of the Culture, Heritage, and Spirituality award from Indspire, and is the youngest person to receive it.
Kicknosway says he is very honoured to hold the title, and everyone on the team that put the awards together to help make people’s lives better is “so amazing.”
“The Indspire awards, that was an amazing time. And when I was receiving my award, we were in Winnipeg and it was really great to meet all of the recipients, all the laureates and just that was an amazing time and I hope everyone can feel how I felt during those couple of days.”
Even though Kicknosway has achieved a lot in such little time, he has also run into obstacles with the loss of his childhood friend being a huge one.
“That was very hard for me, because at that time I was making the transition from middle school to high school. And there is a big learning curve there, because the homework gets tougher… and so for me, it was a lot for myself to take in at that point,” said Kicknosway.
He said to overcome that obstacle he had to acknowledge his friends life and to be thankful for the time he had with him, which he still does today and will do “forever.”
“He has definitely taught me a whole lot about how we need to appreciate life. And so everything I do is just to honour him.”
Theland has also become a leader in using TikTok to share his dance moves, culture and advocacy with the world, attracting over 380,000 followers and 9 million likes to his creative video content!
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
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.