A excessive school student from a First Nation in northern Saskatchewan is representing Indigenous communities on the world stage.
Sean Bernard, a Grade 12 student from Waterhen Lake First Nation, about 290 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, is in Egypt this week to attend COP27, the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Bernard is a youth delegate, representing the youth of the world in addition to Indigenous communities throughout North America.
“As quickly as I heard about this, I took it on immediately as a result of I knew how vital it’s for my neighborhood and for people who find themselves Indigenous from Canada,” he mentioned on CBC Radio’s Morning Edition Wednesday.
Bernard, who attends Carpenter High School in Meadow Lake, Sask., is enrolled in a digital course known as Northern Lifestyles 20, in which college students “examine and negotiate private, cultural, and neighborhood id and sustainability via abilities growth, cultural expertise, and experiential studying,” in accordance with a information launch issued by the Northwest School Division final month.
It was via this course that Bernard was chosen to attend the UN convention.
“I see an exceptional student,” mentioned Tanis Crawford, who teaches the course and is becoming a member of Bernard in Egypt.
“I noticed a student that immediately agreed to tackle this problem of crossing the world to signify North American youth and North American Indigenous voices.”
On Thursday, Bernard will probably be a part of a presentation to world leaders that discusses youth and future generations.
Bernard has been spectacular sufficient all through the convention that he additionally earned an invitation to talk at the well being pavilion, Crawford mentioned.
He can also be amongst 5 youths given unique accreditation that, in accordance with Crawford, grants him entry to the main negotiations which can be happening.
“The 5 youths that had been chosen are representing the youths of the world,” she mentioned. “They have a spot at the negotiation desk, they usually have a spot [to speak] their calls for.”
While in Egypt, he has additionally met different Indigenous folks to debate how local weather change is affecting their communities and how one can take motion.
Canada’s Changing Climate Report, launched in 2019, broke down how local weather change will have an effect on the nation’s completely different areas. The chapter in regards to the Prairies notes that local weather change could exacerbate social inequities, particularly figuring out Indigenous folks as one of many teams that could be extra susceptible.
The Prairie part additionally says that Indigenous information is of “great worth” for local weather science and adaptation planning.
“Many Indigenous peoples are accustomed and adaptive to environmental change, with Indigenous information offering vital views on the connection between human exercise and the surroundings,” the report says.
Bernard has already seen the consequences of local weather change at residence, via drought, wildfires and worsening water high quality.
Once, a wildfire pressured folks in Waterhen Lake First Nation to evacuate the neighborhood for a yr, he mentioned.
He plans to carry what he has realized residence with him to provoke the change his neighborhood — and others — want.
“I wish to tackle that advocacy [role], the place I can inform my neighborhood we have to be those that make these selections,” he mentioned.
“We know what’s finest for us as a result of we’re a part of these communities.… I simply must carry that to us, so we are able to amplify our voices for Indigenous folks.”