A 20-year-old Invermerian has recently stepped on to the Indigenous campaign trail.

Braydi Rice recently announced her decision to run for the Métis Nation of B.C. (MNBC) youth chair position during the upcoming fall election.

“I announced later than most people because I originally wasn’t planning on running, and the reason for that was because my previous job required a lot of my time, and I didn’t think it would be possible to devote enough time to the role,” she explained, noting that her new employer in the Columbia Valley is highly supportive of civic engagement and volunteerism in the community.

If elected, Rice remains optimistic about supporting the Métis youth under 30 in B.C. to bridge programming gaps for Métis children between the ages of nine and 14 years old while fostering continuous improvement of health and wellness, governance and law, arts and culture as well as Michif language revitalization.

“I actually want to define a junior youth area to foster younger children to learn about their Métis culture, so people don’t lose interest between the existing early years programming and the conferences offered to youths over the age of 15,” she explained. “Most of the youth stuff put out there has age restrictions, so it’s usually 15 and older, or conferences for 18 and older, so there’s a gap area. I know because my cousins are facing it in Prince George.”

She is hopeful that there will be enough participation from youths in the province, so that those with interests and experiences can split up the responsibilities of attending various conferences in the future.

“I want to look to our youth to step up and offer their expertise and education to help those that are younger,” she said. “That’s the biggest priority for me now.”

Her biggest interest remains in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum and hopes to encourage other youths to work with her to learn about existing opportunities available to Métis youth.

Rice completed a Bachelors of Science with a major in biology. Afterward, she completed an Indigenous Youth Internship program in Victoria and her mentors encouraged Rice to apply for a dual academic degree program.

The dual degree allowed Rice to complete a Masters of Forestry at the University of British Columbia in parallel with a Masters of Science in Conservation and Land Management through Bangor University in Wales, U.K.

However, studying in the U.K. restricted Rice from campaigning in the MNBC election in previous years.

Rice continued to network among Métis youths during that time and build up her career.

After stepping down from a private environmental consulting firm in Vancouver, Rice began working as a biologist at the Shuswap Indian Band (SIB) in Invermere on July 1. She believes it would not have been possible to run for this year’s MNBC election this fall without the support of the SIB.

“It’s nice that I have the support of the Shuswap,” Rice said, noting that she’s recently begun representing the SIB at the Windermere Lake Ambassadors program.

To learn more about Rice, among other candidates who are vying for the provincial youth chair role in the MNBC election, please visit: https://forms.gle/KguqeiVhp3ysrfmG6 to register for the virtual town halls taking place to meet the candidates and ask questions on Zoom.