North

3 young, indigenous voters in the N.W.T. weigh in on federal election

A panel discussion with three Gwich'in voters under 30 about how they feel about the federal election campaign, and how their peers are getting involved.

The Trailbreaker spoke with 3 aboriginal voters under 30

From left, Jacey Firth-Hagen, Jordan Peterson, and Nigit'stil Norbert. All three are members of the Gwich'in First Nation and took part in a panel on the federal election on CBC's The Trailbreaker.

Some younger, aboriginal activists are working to get their people to vote in the upcoming federal election, in an effort to break the cycle of low voter turnout among young and indigenous populations.

CBC North's The Trailbreaker held a panel with three Gwich'in voters under 30 to get their take on the election campaign so far, and hear how people their age are getting involved.

  • Scroll down to hear the full interview

Nigit'stil Norbert, 29, says her peer group is very active in this election.

"You have certain people who may not have been talked to a lot about politics within their upbringing or within their life," Norbert says.

"So now they're going and taking it upon themselves to research what those platforms are, what those campaigns are, and how they reflect our values and our morals."

Inuvik's Jordan Peterson, 28, didn't vote in the last election, but now he's fully engaged and says he's enjoying seeing how many young people are getting involved this time around.

"I feel like it's kind of the age range from 25 to 35 that are really engaged in the process of voting and really informing themselves," Peterson says. "And I do see a lot of younger people trying to inform themselves and educate themselves about politics and issues in their communities."

Jacey Firth-Hagen, 21, says she wasn't always into politics, nor did she know much about the parties' platforms, but she says that's changed for her and for many of her friends.

"I originally spent a lot of time researching on my own, I wasn't sure about politics myself," she says.

"Then I started talking to people...and everyone is really engaged. They're talking to me about why they're voting, who they're voting for."  

Top issues among young voters

The three panelists agree on many of the topics they feel the parties should be addressing, but Peterson feels like Northern issues are being ignored.

"I think that given the cost of living up here, especially when it comes to food and food security, I think that that's a big issue," he says.

Firth-Hagen also lists food and housing security as top priorities, as well as the economy, job growth, transparency and missing and murdered indigenous women.

Norbert echoes many of those.

"I could rattle off housing, food security, housing security, missing and murdered indigenous women, climate change, the environment, fracking," Norbert says. "This is probably one of the most contentious elections."

But Norbert says those aren't her main message.

"I'm not here to say vote a certain party; I'm just here to say, 'Vote,'" Norbert says. "It's difficult, especially when there are historic reasons why our people, indigenous people, may not want to vote."

"The most important aspect is just getting out the door, putting your little mark on and you've been an active part of this country."

On mobile? Listen to the full interview here

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