Young People Know

YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW, a special five-part podcast series hosted by Sam Bird, explores best practices in becoming youth-led through conversations with nine Indigenous changemakers from across the country. The series shares their experiences and insights on a range of topics including identity, community engagement, building safe spaces, policy change, compensation, and leadership development.

YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW is produced by the Mastercard Foundation EleV Program and Good Influence Films in partnership with Indigenous 150+

To learn more about the Mastercard Foundation EleV Program please visit:

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Meet the Series Participants

(in order of appearance)

Sam Bird / Host

Sam Bird is a citizen of Peguis First Nation, currently residing in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is a Program Partner at the Mastercard Foundation, with a focus on Youth Engagement. She’s passionate about creating systems change for Indigenous young people. Outside of work she loves to enjoy all that northwestern Ontario has to offer when it comes to hiking, canoeing, and skiing. Sam is also an emerging writer, with work included in the newly released Carving Space: The Indigenous Voices Awards Anthology.

Brian Pottle

Brian Pottle is an Inuk from the communities of Postville & Rigolet in Nunatsiavut, Labrador and the former President of the Inuit National Youth Council which represents the voices and interests of Inuit youth across the north. While Brian’s background is in electrical engineering with a degree from Memorial University, he is dedicated to being a positive role model for Inuit youth and cares deeply about raising awareness on suicide prevention. His passion to support Inuit youth has led him to become the Executive Director of Katinnganiq Makerspace Network, a non-profit based out of Nunavut which is dedicated to creating makerspaces across the territory in hopes of empowering Inuit youth to pursue their dreams. He currently resides in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Christine Tootoo

Christine Tootoo is from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and currently works as a Youth Program Coordinator for the Kivalliq Inuit Association, and through that position serves on the National Inuit Youth Council as the Kivalliq representative. Christine is also a multifaceted artist and has worked on a number of different theatrical productions as an actress, singer, and musician, including Kiviuq Returns, and Unikkaaqtuat. Both productions were performed in the Inuktitut language, showcased at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and toured across Southern Canada. Christine’s artistic pursuits include singing, throat singing, drum dancing, playing the accordion and guitar. She continues to work as an artist and actor when the opportunity arises and as time allows.

Tutchone Dunfield

Tutchone Dunfield was born and raised in Grande Prairie, AB. She is Cree/Métis with family ties to the Indigenous community of Kelly Lake, BC. From a young age, Tutchone has learned to advocate for Indigenous rights. She’s been a leader in her community by sitting on many councils including the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Provisional Youth Council, the Circle of Indigenous Students at Grande Prairie Regional College, the Presidents Steering Committee for Equity, Diversion, and Inclusion at Royal Roads University (RRU), and the MNA Askiy Advisory Committee. Tutchone has always been passionate about the environment and combining traditional land-based teachings with western scientific knowledge. She graduated from RRU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and now works as an Environmental Scientist in Prince George, BC at EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc.

Elycia Monaghan

Elycia Monaghan is a Kitikmeot Inuk medical student at NOSM University on her way to becoming a doctor. Elycia is originally from Hay River, Northwest Territories, and her Inuit roots come from her mother’s community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. She graduated with a nursing degree in 2021 and a social work diploma in 2017. Elycia’s dream is to become perhaps Canada’s first Inuk psychiatrist, and is passionate about mental health and the unique hardships Indigenous peoples face in this realm. Her wish is to advocate for better health outcomes as a future Indigenous physician. Elycia currently resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario with her husband and 5-year-old son, Eli.

Darian Baskatawang

Darian Baskatawang is a two-spirit Anishinaabe man of the Loon clan and member of Whitesand First Nation. Darian is a lawyer at OKT Law, a law firm that works exclusively for Indigenous people from coast to coast.

Darian grew up on reserve in northern Ontario, surrounded by his aunties, uncles, grandparents, and culture. He got involved in advocacy at the age of 13 with Whitesand and soon after as a youth representative for the Independent First Nations and Chiefs of Ontario. His journey brought him to work in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada and as an advisor for former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Now, Darian is Class Counsel for the First Nations Drinking Water class action and maintains a broad practice in First Nations governance, jurisdiction, and emergency matters.

Darian enjoys runs along dirt roads, paddling, re-watching Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, and playing Halo and values and principles his great-grandmother taught him: kindness, humbleness, respect, collaboration and laughter.

Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

Autumn LaRose-Smith

Autumn LaRose-Smith is a proud queer Métis woman born and raised in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. She is the President of the Provincial Métis Youth Council and Minister of Youth for the Métis Nation Saskatchewan. Autumn is a student in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) and was the first Indigenous woman to be elected as President of the University of Saskatchewan Students Union. Autumn is passionate about good governance and creating opportunities for Métis youth to be supported and celebrated. Her ultimate goal for her four-year elected term is for Métis youth in Saskatchewan to feel connected to each other, to their culture, and to creating valuable services offered by their Métis Government.

Riley Yesno

Riley Yesno is a queer Anishinaabe scholar, writer, and public intellectual from Eabametoong First Nation/Thunder Bay, ON.

She is highly sought after for her words and analysis – called an ‘Indigenous powerhouse’ by the Toronto Star – she has been a contributor and commentator for some of the largest media outlets in Canada and the world, including the New York Times, BBC World News, The Globe and Mail, and BC National News.

Riley has also travelled the globe speaking at internationally renowned institutions and events, including the UN climate negotiations, the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality, TEDx stages, and many others. Her major project right now is to finish her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where she studies Indigenous/Canadian politics and is a Vanier Scholar.

Brandon Montour

Brandon is Kanien’kehá:ka from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Great Distinction from Concordia University and is currently in his third year at McGill University’s Faculty of Law.

Brandon has experience in both the public and private sectors, as a Ministerial staffer to the Honourable Marc Miller and as an intern at a leading Toronto law firm. Most notably, Brandon assisted the firm in a historic class proceeding that resulted in an $8 billion settlement to address water infrastructure issues and long-term drinking water advisories on First Nations reserves.

Brandon also works with the Mohawk Council and the Court of Kahnawake in his community In 2019, he was unanimously appointed to serve as Chairperson of the Kahnawake Cannabis Control Board where he oversaw the regulatory development of cannabis in his community.

Jocelyn Formsma

Jocelyn Formsma is the CEO of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), a lawyer, Board Member of the Indigenous Bar Association, and advisor to the Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Project. Ms. Formsma is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada and resides in Ottawa. Her degrees include a Juris Doctorate from the University of Ottawa and has over 20 years of work and volunteer experience advocating on behalf of Indigenous peoples. She has held roles on the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance’s Task Force on Women and the Economy, is a past Chairperson of APTN, has volunteered in community radio, and was a Board Member of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. She brings together her legal training and passion for justice to helping grow the Friendship Centre Movement and working for systemic change for Indigenous peoples. This is reflected in her recent appointment as a Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

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