Chelsea Jane Edwards is one of 45 Indigenous youth chosen to take part in Msit No’Kmaq, a leadership program where that will send them on a voyage by ship across the Atlantic. (Keith Minchin/The Canadian Press) A 21-year-old woman from Attawapiskat is one of 45 Indigenous youth on board a tall ship sailing for France.
Chelsea Jane Edwards told CBC News that her friends encouraged her to apply to the Indigenous youth leadership program, called Msit No’Kmaq.
She’s now aboard a schooner known as the Gulden Leeuw, a 55-metre steel-hulled schooner which left Tuesday morning on its destination of Halifax across the Atlantic Ocean.
Edwards said she’s feeling nervous about the 25-day journey, but looking forward to the experience. She’s been on fishing boats with her dad on the Attawapiskat River before, but never aboard a tall ship. She said at one point she was even afraid of sailing the ocean. But she put those thoughts behind her after being accepted into the program.
"When I heard about the opportunity I was like, yes, I need to do this," Edwards said. "I feel like this is going to challenge me spiritually, mentally and physically."
"I am someone who loves to keep growing and this is the perfect opportunity for it."
During the voyage, Indigenous facilitators will conduct workshops and sessions to keep the youth inspired and motivated
"I am sure I will be seasick," Edwards said. "But we have an amazing crew on board and I have 44 other Indigenous youth who are willing to help one another out so I have the support I need."
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