The winners have been announced in a provincewide children’s art/writing contest where youth were asked what being Indigenous means to them.
In honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day and hosted by Xyólheméylh (Fraser Valley Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society) the contest was open to all Indigenous people age five to 24.
The entries were judged by a panel consisting of Xyólheméylh’s board of directors and elders advisory committee. There were three categories – ages five to 10, ages 11 to 14, and ages 15 to 24.
The children and youth expressed their connection to the land, nature, animals, and their families. They also expressed their hopes and dreams as well as their sadness with discrimination and racism.
“Many artists have painted or drawn pictures of wolves howling at a full moon. In my artwork, I have used the dream catcher as my moon because I want the dream catcher to catch and protect all my hopes and dreams of being a person who is known to protect friends, freedom, family, loyalty, and teamwork,” said 10-year-old Emiley of her artwork.
Kyan won first place in the ages 15 to 24 category.
“Stereotypes often take over how First Nations are seen, and when someone looks at you and automatically thinks that what you are isn’t something to be proud of it makes you feel bad no matter how proud you are,” Kyan wrote.
“Thank you to all the children and youth who submitted their heartfelt art. It is truly inspiring to see the talent, creativity and the pride expressed in being Indigenous,” said board president Dr. Wenona Hall.