Indspire Canadian tour to motivate Indigenous youth to stop in Saskatoon
'I've done a lot of learning about my culture,' Butcher said of his Métis heritage
Their mission is to invest in and promote Indigenous education, and now as part of Canada's 150 celebrations, Indspireis sending its youth laureates out on tour with a stop in Saskatoon on Tuesday.
I didn't have a strong sense of what it meant to be Métis.- Josh Butcher
"I want to know what their hopes and dreams are, you know. I want to know what they want to be when they grow up," said University of Saskatchewan Medical student Josh Butcher, one of the Indigenous leaders on this tour.
"I want to know if they're inspired."
Butcher's life is a busy one. The young Métis man is involved in everything from football to advocating for LGBT athletes and children with disabilities.
"It is tough sometimes," he admitted.
But what drives him is his own story, striving to achieve and finding his way into medical school without any Indigenous role models to look up to.
Tough to succeed without role models
"When you don't have role models in that field, it's really hard to view yourself as being successful," he told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.
"You hear racist comments at times and when you hear that … your perception starts to become altered and since I didn't have a strong sense of what it meant to be Métis, some of those things start to become associated with what I thought it was to be Métis."
In fact, Butcher said, winning the 2017 Youth-Métis Inspire Award forced him to do some research.
"I've done a lot of learning about my culture and about my background and just trying to pick up things that were never really introduced to me."
Butcher said his father didn't pass along Métis traditions and stories, most likely as a way to protect his son from the overt racism of his days.
Butcher said he's proud to be a leader now, helping young Métis students achieve their dreams.
The event happens at Convocation Hall tomorrow at the University of Saskatchewan, beginning at 1:00 p.m. CST. Registration is required to attend.
with files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning