First Nations Entrepreneurship is Key to Ending Cycle of Hardship | Liam Massaubi

A lot of people have asked me for my opinion on how we can help support First Nations youth. There are many challenges facing our youth and there is no easy solution. Whether it's an ongoing suicide crisis across North America, a high rate of violence, abuse and poverty or the overrepresentation in the correctional system, these kids are dealing with some serious obstacles. And these continuing challenges demonstrate that though some approaches may have been beneficial, we are nowhere near yet to fully supporting the next generation to break the cycle and prepare for the future.

Many reports over the years have documented the negative impact of various government policies of both the United States and Canada. In Canada, the release of the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) report has recorded in the voices of indigenous people the generation over generation impacts of colonialism and cultural genocide, including a lack of business, education stability options in First Nation communities.

The response of the current Canadian federal government to the TRC has been encouraging, though I, like others, will look closely for actual ongoing solutions and attention other than around election times. I think it's important that there is shared responsibility for keeping kids from falling through the cracks in such small communities. No child should grow up feeling hopeless and left behind.

Entrepreneurship, from my experience, could mean the difference between life and death for these kids. Although I grew up fairly privileged compared to others, I could have easily ended up in prison as many of my childhood friends have. I could have easily committed suicide, been murdered or passed away from addiction as others I knew did, but entrepreneurship saved me.

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