Friends, it’s good to know the GNWT is doing what it can to ensure our Youth have ways of relating to the outside world. The Northern Youth Abroad (NYA) program, for instance, is specifically set up to help young people, ages 15 to 20, who might not otherwise get to travel. A recent article in News/North about this features Jayme Nerysoo, 20, of Fort Macpherson. She went to Ottawa to take part in a construction course, another participant was Jessica Andre, of Tsiigehtchic.

From having worked with youth for close to a decade I can say with certainty, they are always trying to find ways to make their own way. On our community’s online page in Radilih Koe, Fort Good Hope, there are always notes about some young person wanting to do any kind of work to keep up with steep northern costs.

Of all forms of education, I know from personal experience, travel gives the best way of knowing how the rest of the world lives.

The Northern Youth Abroad’s Next program for 16-to 22-years old alumni of the NYA program, is a definite plus. There is no better way to open doors to the future than making it happen in this way – just going places.

I started winning awards writing while still in grade school and ended up traveling to southern Canada around the same time, to represent the North as a member of the TEST Ski Program.

When I think back on it now I just have to smile, because coming from the North, everything ‘outside’ was so brand new, like being in a movie, or a cartoon, sometimes.

When landing in Montreal, for instance, I could count 15 hockey rinks, just on one side of the plane. We were told by Francophone fans that we went faster uphill than their skiers went downhill.

In fact, we were so used to training in Inuvik, in -30 C and -40 C, that even Quebec in winter was too hot, so we raced in our T-shirts.

These experiences all go somewhere, too. I will be inducted into the NWT Sports Hall of Fame, in Yellowknife, in early November.

Government programs like Sports North and the Northern Youth Abroad are ways to make all of this a reality, and especially in the case of the latter, which extends itself to young people who would not otherwise be so lucky.

Mahsi, thank you.

Antoine Mountain

Antoine Mountain is a Dene artist and writer originally from Radilih Koe/Fort Good Hope. He can be reached at

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