The BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) Youth Network serves youth (ages 16-29) within the 203 First Nations in BC. With direction from elected Youth Representatives, the Youth Network helps youth connect and stay in touch with one another, leading to valuable opportunities and memorable experiences. The Youth Network also brings youth leadership and perspectives to the BCAFN’s broader work and mandate.
The Youth Network was born out of the success of annual in-person gatherings hosted by the BCAFN. These gatherings provide youth with powerful social, emotional, and spiritual experiences and bonds. The Youth Network supports BC First Nations youth in building connections and discovering opportunities with and without in-person events.
BCAFN Female Youth Representative
Taylor Behn-Tsakoza – Fort Nelson First Nation
Taylor Behn-Tsakoza is of Eh Cho Dene and Dunne Zaa ancestry from Fort Nelson & Prophet River First Nation. Her Nations are signatories to Treaty 8 and their traditional territories cover modern-day Northeast British Columbia.
Growing up in the North, Taylor experienced and witnessed the obstacles that rural and remote communities face. She works to bring those stories and experiences to leaders at all levels. Culture, education and sports have kept Taylor focused on breaking harmful intergenerational cycles. She is passionate about creating a future that First Nations youth want and deserve.
Being a Dene hand games enthusiast, beginner dry meat maker, and beader, Taylor knows the importance of learning and carrying on culture and traditions. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health & Physical Education. She has taken her education abroad to Australia and Hawai’i where she studied International Indigenous Studies. This broadened Taylor’s understanding of how our resilience and perseverance as Indigenous people globally has helped shape our world.
Working with Indigenous youth in the fields of health, recreation, and life promotion for the last several years, Taylor ensures that culture, language and community connection are the foundation for every program and initiative that she is a part of. Advocating and speaking at events across the province and country allow Taylor to voice her concerns and share her ideas that have advanced First Nations youth capacity to be leaders in their communities and beyond.
Coming to the BC Assembly of First Nations, Taylor brings both excitement and a willingness to learn about Indigenous governance and policy. Building on her previous experience of working with community and youth, Taylor hopes to engage First Nations youth across BC to get involved in politics and learn more about the work currently being done. Taylor works to serve First Nations people and is honoured to hold this position as Female Youth Representative.
BCAFN Male Youth Representative
Justen Peters – Okanagan Indian Band
For years, Justen has been intrigued by the concept and practices of Indigenous Economic Development and the empowerment that economic independence brings to communities and individuals. Recently, Justen completed the Indigenous Youth Internship Program with the Province of BC, where he worked with the Ministry of Jobs, Trade, and Technology in the Joint Office of Indigenous Economic Development. This program taught him about the relationships that First Nations have with the Province and the opportunities that exist.
Justen is excited to see increased Indigenous ownership of natural resources and trade, and the opportunities that this will create for entrepreneurs. Justen aspires to have a career in economic development that will help individuals build onto their competencies so that they can sustain healthy communities.