Brendan, St. Regis Mohawk, would like to help his community and to go on to help other communities.
In the future I plan to go to college to start a non profit to help aid native communities with issues such as high suicide rates, drug and alcohol abuse and other pressing issues in our indigenous communities. As an Ambassador I am able to network with Natives from other reservations that may be interested in interacting with my community in the future. I have heard of things another Youth Ambassador has done for the community such as start cultural camps for the youth. I am very passionate about my culture. Growing up I did not have much exposure to my culture until I decided to go through my Rites of Passage which was started to help guide my Nation’s youth on good paths. We call the Rites of Passage, Ohero:ken which in Mohawk translates to “Under The Husk”. The corn is used as an analogy for the youth and that you have to pull away that husk to get the corn and that we mature as we lose our husks. This ceremony has brought me into contact with many of the role models I have today. I take every chance I get to share the knowledge I have with others and to acquire more knowledge about mine and others cultures. One personal attribute I feel I have is resiliency. I have overcome many obstacles in my life such as learning about my culture and becoming traditional while being raised in a Catholic family. I have also made it to my third year of fasting in my Rites of Passage, in my first year there were fifteen boys, there are now three of us left. I feel I am seen almost as a leader of my year because I am asked to speak on my years behalf and I am asked questions by the two other boys in my year. When I started in my first year I found my own rides to the longhouse for the Sunday meetings where we learn different things about sexual, mental and physical health and things that will help us on our fasts. We are preparing to fast for three nights and if we achieve this we will go on to fast for four nights next year.