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Four Indigenous youth get trip of a lifetime to Ottawa on Canada Day

Kiana, Angel, Eja, and Kyra get interviewed during their Canaday Day trip to Ottawa thanks to Road to Freedom. Image credit: Road to Freedom.

Four Indigenous teenagers from the area got the experience of a lifetime this Canada Day thanks to the Road to Freedom program.

Kiana Desjardins and Angel Jacob from Cold Lake First Nations and Eja Jacknife and Kyra Desjardins from Elizabeth Metis settlement got a free trip to Ottawa to experience Canada Day from an Indigenous perspective.

Road to Freedom, a two-day film/video content workshop that tours various First Nation communities across Canada, came to Cold Lake First Nations in early June, and just a couple weeks later told these four youth that they would be going to Ottawa after Canadian Heritage approached Road the Freedom about their concept of sending four Indigenous youth to the nation’s capital to experience Canada Day.

They shot a video showing their travels, all done by the teenagers on the trip, and has over 44,000 views on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=480797126039678

“It was pretty great. I was pretty shocked when I got the news,” said 17-year-old Angel Jacob about the trip.

“It was kind of mind-boggling because we’re just from the reserve. We don’t get to do stuff like this much often. So it was like a nice change of pace. All the buildings were beautiful. I was surprised to see how many old buildings that are still there,” she said.

The youth got the limo treatment.

They had backstage passes on the grand stage during the band’s performances, walked the red carpet, did television interviews and even got to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Loretta McFeeters accompanied the youth during the trip along with Elizabeth Jacknife.

McFeeters said it’s an experience the youth will never forget.

“These kids never had really got the opportunity to actually go places,” she said.

“For them to see like all this multiculturalism over there. It was a good awakening for them. They were just so blown away with how much different races are was actually living in Canada, and all the different ethnicities. There were people dressed in regalia from different nations there. There were different languages and the kids were so overwhelmed by it.”

Road to Freedom looks to cultivate First Nation storytellers and filmmakers while promoting Nobess’ recovery journey and healthy living.

Jacob said the program gave her a new interest in shooting videos and taking pictures.

“I haven’t really taken many videos before Road to Freedom. But I found that I really enjoyed it because they had so many advanced things to use, like the gimbal. You put your phone on it and it takes away all like the bumpiness when you walk. And that makes everything really smooth. I was really fascinated by it,” she said.

“I’m actually planning to go into culinary arts, but doing stuff like taking photos and taking videos would just like be a nice hobby.”

McFeeters said Road to Freedom was valuable to get to the area.

“I think if people have the opportunity to get Road to Freedom in their community they should really go for it.”