Mission: The rights of First Nations’ youth
The What: Now in her fourth elected term as the co-chair of the Assembly of First Nations National Youth Council (AFN-NYC), LaBillois, is an advocate for sustainability, leading national youth gatherings on climate action and water protection.
From a family of Mi’kmaq fishermen who live on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, LaBillois was raised in a family committed to breaking cycles and healing intergenerational traumas. “Through our ceremonies, we understand who we are as the true stewards of this land.”
For decades, the AFN has been taking direction and fulfilling mandates as directed by First Nations-in-Assembly through resolutions. Assemblies have been documented as far back as 1870, and the councils have gone through name-changes, elected chiefs and other growth to accommodate the ever-changing needs of their communities.
LaBillois was elected as Co-Chair of the Youth Council in 2021. (Co-chair Winter-Dawn Lipscombe was announced in July of this year.) Together, they advocate for the First Nations youth on issues that impact them, and creates and promotes opportunities for youth to engage in important issues such as languages, life promotion, healthy lifestyles, climate action, culture and education.
The Impact: In 2022, LaBillois travelled to the Vatican City along with 29 Elders, knowledge keepers, residential school survivors, to secure a formal apology from Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church. Addressing the Pope directly, LaBillois shared a message of intergenerational resiliency and the beauty of the richness of their culture and language.
A View from the Top: Named on of 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders in Canada (Corporate Knights)
Fun Fact: LaBillois is also the youth engagement officer at Ulnooweg Indigenous Communities Foundation.
Sound Advice: “If you want to gauge the outcomes of your leadership then you should look to our children, their quality of life, to gauge the ability to make things better for our people.”
What’s Next? Adding to the list of responsibilities, New Brunswick resident has orchestrated impactful national youth gatherings centered around climate action and safeguarding water resources.
The Call to Action: “Once we all understand that we have an equal responsibility to take care of this land, and we come to work together, only then will we see real change.”
“Our fight is not with each other. Our fight is for the protection of our land, for the protection and safety of our people and for the recognition and assertion of our ways.”
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