Meet the Youth Leadership Team
Six Indigenous youth from across Ontario bring their wide range of skills and experience to lead the Shield Your Rights project. Forming a youth leadership team (YLT), the youth members are designing and developing a public legal education (PLE) digital game that will inform Indigenous youth of their rights when interacting with the police. The team works with subject-matter experts in law, Indigenous knowledge, and game design to develop the design documents for an accessible and informative digital game for fellow Indigenous youth.
The YLT share a passion for improving relationships between Indigenous youth and police. We invite you to get to know the team and share their excitement for this responsive and innovative PLE project:
My name is Eden Gepner-Bourgeois, I am an Indigenous grade 10 student in Toronto, Ontario. I am Cree-Metis from the Red River District, and have lived in Toronto all my life. I got involved with the Shield your Rights project because I believe that this is a great way to educate Indigenous youth about a topic that not many people know a lot about. During the project, I have learned so much about my rights as an Indigenous youth, and I am hoping that youth will learn as much about this topic as I have.
Leah Horzempa is Métis from Ontario near Georgian Bay. She is on a journey to reconnect with her Métis heritage and culture, including learning traditional beadwork, leather working, and building relationships with her First Nations and more-than-human kin. Leah is a lawyer, educator, facilitator, public speaker, consultant and the owner of Sister Circle Consulting, and currently lives and works in Tkaronto. Leah spends most of her time learning and educating about Indigenous knowledge systems and governance, natural and Indigenous customary legal systems, restorative justice, Indigenous research and evaluation methods, feminism and gender inclusivity, community governance, and reconciliation to achieve nation to nation relationships. Leah has an honours bachelor’s degree of arts and science from the University of Guelph (2013), and a Juris Doctorate from Osgoode Hall Law School (2018). Leah got involved in the Shield Your Rights project for the chance to work collaboratively with other Indigenous young people who are committed to Indigenous justice, and she deeply values all the knowledge and experience they have shared with her along the way.
My name is Elijah Meloche. I am from the Oneida Nation of The Thames. I am currently studying Community and Justice Services, with a focus on restorative justice and liaison duties, through First Nations Technical Institute.
I got involved with Shield Your Rights because of the opportunity to translate shared experiences of the past and current justice system through Indigenous eyes. Having an active role in the creative process of a mobile game has been amazing; the opportunity to convey Traditional knowledge and teachings in this medium underscores that feeling for me.
My name is Jeremy Naveau, and I’m from Brunswick House First Nation within Treaty 9 territory. I am a Youth Champion for my young people and have been an advocate for Indigenous youth in Ontario since 2014. My advocacy has allowed me to work intensively with the former Ontario Child Advocate’s Office, the Feathers of Hope initiative and further been involved with Nishnawbe-Aski Nation’s Chiefs Assemblies and youth delegations to speak on behalf of young people within the region. I became involved with the Shield Your Rights for the simple reason that it allowed space for youth to bring forward our ideas and solutions to a problem that is too often overlooked and begin to strengthen the relationship between young people and the justice system. What I like most about this project is the amount of cultural significance that’s been woven into the story of this app, where youth will simultaneously learn how to shield their rights and establish a connection to their culture and identities.
Wacheya! My name’s Tehya Quachegan and I am Moose Cree from Moose Factory. I grew up in Thunder Bay but am currently at Western University in my 3rd year of my undergrad with a double major in Psychology and Indigenous Studies. I got involved in the Shield Your Rights project because with growing up in Thunder Bay I saw the relationship of distrust with the police force and Indigenous peoples, and in the end, both suffer because of this. I think projects like this are important in being part of the solution. I really like that the Shield Your Rights project is led by our Indigenous youth team and how much we value consulting with Indigenous peoples and properly navigating how to integrate traditional teachings into our game. I am so excited to be part of this journey and hope to see it empower Indigenous youth one day.