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SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT — Fort Nelson First Nations member Taylor Behn-Tsakoza said her time at the United Nations climate change conference (COP27) has been a stirring experience.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Behn-Tzakoza, the executive member of the National Youth Council with the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, reflected on her time at the conference, stating that she feels both sadness and optimism.

 “Hearing councillor Hugh Braker talk about some of the struggles that we’re facing, a feeling of sadness really sets in. But I think what keeps me going is knowing that our people are here in these spaces, despite all the challenges that we face,” Behn-Tsakoza said.

“COP27 has seen the highest number of Indigenous attendees out of all COPs. To me, as a young emerging leader, that’s what makes me hopeful.”

Behn-Tsakoza said she is the only youth representative for the AFN at COP27, something she hopes will change in the future.

“I hope in the future that there’s more youth that can be a part of this, and I’ve encouraged [Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault] to keep funding these opportunities for more youth to be a part of this, whether that’s Indigenous youth or otherwise.”

She added that she’s inspired by her delegation’s impact, not only in negotiations but also in changing the mindsets of attendees in Canada and around the world.

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) will conclude on November 18th.

Earlier this year, Behn-Tsakoza was among the 13 delegates who travelled to Vatican City to discuss reconciliation with Pope Francis.

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Spencer HallInvestigative Reporter

Spencer Hall is a news reporter for energeticcity.ca and a recent graduate of the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Radio Arts & Entertainment program. Growing up in Northwest B.C. made Spencer aware of the importance of local journalism, independent media, and reconciliation. In his spare time, you can find Spencer reading, playing video games, or at the FSJ dog park with his dog, Teddy.