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NATIONAL ABORIGINAL YOUTH COUNCIL ON HIV/AIDS (NAYCHA)

Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network

With One Heart and One Mind We Will Spread Knowledge and Infect Truth

Statement to the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Working Group and the International World AIDS Conference in Vienna, July 2010

Indigenous youth in Canada, like Indigenous youth worldwide, are the largest and fastest growing population, who are also experiencing the effects of HIV/AIDS at alarmingly high rates. As of 2008, within the Canadian Aboriginal population with HIV, almost one third of this population is under 29 years old. Indigenous youth in Canada are uniting and reaching out at all levels to strategically guide the HIV/AIDS movement for youth. The Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network supports the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV/AIDS, the first in Canada, in developing a five year strategic plan by youth and for youth to lower the incidence of HIV among First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth in Canada.

The vision of NAYCHA involves encouraging the basic human rights of Indigenous youth are met by providing accessible, culturally relevant, and community based information on HIV/AIDS, as well as HIV prevention for Indigenous youth. The strength of peer-to-peer knowledge, harm reduction, education, advocacy and support is acknowledged as key to helping Indigenous youth.

As the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV/AIDS we have strength in:

Numbers – our voices together in solidarity

Ideas – no borders or boxes, our ideas flow with creativity and resilience

Culture – the importance of our connection to our Aboriginal spirituality, culture and ancestors

Leadership – leadership for Aboriginal youth and desire to build leadership capacity in its many different forms

Listening and Caring – open hearts to hear and compassion for youth

Knowing Ourselves – we believe in connecting with who we are as individuals, as well as with our communities

Looking Forward – visioning healthy Aboriginal youth in future generations

Youth – for Aboriginal youth, by Aboriginal youth

Partnerships – we know that Aboriginal youth benefit from strong partnerships at all levels with individuals, communities, organizations, governments and other youth councils

We believe in youth empowerment! We are Indigenous youth leaders and we are creative, we are multi-dimensional, we have strengths, and we also recognize the challenges faced by Indigenous youth. We believe that connecting Indigenous youth across Canada and internationally will give our Indigenous youth hope and courage to practice healthy sexuality, be informed about HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention and educate each other and our communities about HIV/AIDS among Indigenous youth globally. We work collectively with a good mind and open hearts, lead by example, provide a voice, and support each other. We are the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV/AIDS and we would like to work with you!

During your deliberations and meetings this week at AIDS 2010, we implore you to remember Indigenous youth and ensure our realities are addressed. We ask that you include Indigenous youth at every stage of planning and action, and that the principles of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of our participation be applied so we can speak and act on behalf of ourselves.

For more information on the National Aboriginal Youth Council on HIV/AIDS please visit our youth website located on www.caan.ca or contact:

Jessica Yee, Chair of NAYCHA and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network [email protected]

416-419-6937

Carrie Robinson, National Youth Coordinator

[email protected]

604-266-7616