Chakira Young talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Chakira Young talks about 4th year

Chakira Young profile

It's interesting to make connections to other cultures – and to yourself.



Hailing from the Eskasoni First Nation on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Chakira Young has always been interested in learning about her own culture and that of Canada’s other indigenous peoples. From high school to university, the fourth-year student in Sociology and Social Anthropology has sought out courses that addressed indigenous issues.

Now enrolled in Dalhousie’s new Indigenous Studies minor program, Chakira has enjoyed exploring these issues with more depth and focus.

“I have an interest in learning about different cultures, not just First Nations but the Inuit and Metis as well, cultures that I’m not familiar with,” she says. “The minor is promoting that history and knowledge.”

In her Historical Issues in Indigenous Studies course, taught by Diana Lewis, Chakira has delved into several hundred years of history about everything from treaties between Canadian governments and First Nations to cultural practices and traditions.

Along with the classroom lectures, Chakira mentions expert guest speakers and out-of-class learning excursions as highlights. She also believes the knowledge she’s gained in the program complements her studies in Sociology and Social Anthropology.

“You kind of get an insider perspective of different cultures and their values,” she says of the Indigenous Studies program. “It’s made me respect more that different cultures do have different values and it’s helped me understand the value of community.”

Chakira has found her own community among the students in her course and program. She’s met students from a variety of indigenous and non-indigenous cultures.

“I’m connecting with people from different communities and learning about their experiences and family relationships and things like that,” she says. “It’s interesting to make those connections and make connections to yourself.”

After graduation, Chakira hopes to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work and, in the long run, apply the knowledge she’s acquired and the connections she’s made to the task of helping indigenous children.

“There are a lot of Aboriginal children that are involved in social services and that’s where I want to go to help,” she says. “I want to further my education and understanding of why these things come about.”