When Taylor George-Hollis moved to Canada to learn about her mother’s Squamish Nation heritage, she didn’t just jump into it. George-Hollis completely immersed herself.
The U.S./Canada dual citizen is among a growing number of youth stepping into the nation’s political ring. The 19-year-old is one of six candidates under the age of 30 on the ballot for the Squamish Nation’s Dec. 8 election. On Sunday, members will elect 16 councillors and a band manager to lead the community.
“We’re wanting to have our voice heard throughout our community,” George-Hollis said.
Youth are taking note of the election, she said. Last week, a group came together to created a youth block vote — deciding on who they will back based on a set of criteria.
The checklist included the need for more representation from Squamish Valley, an area that’s home to about a quarter of the Squamish Nation’s 3,600 members. Young adults also want to see more women on council, George-Hollis said.
For the past 10 years, Squamish Nation members between the ages of 25 to 39 have made up the largest proportion of the population. While more aboriginal students are completing high school in B.C. than ever before, secondary education is a high priority for the nation’s youth, said George-Hollis, who is currently studying at Capilano University.
“I want to see more of our people succeed,” she said.
To learn more about the election and read candidates’ profiles visit www.squamish.net. Voting takes place at Totem Hall on 1380 Stawamus Rd. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more info call (604) 892-5166.