In addition to her many extracurricular activities, softball player Hunter Lang has been working hard at learning about her Indigenous culture.
From Port Moody BC, the 15-year old who has been playing softball since she was seven is a member of the Ts’Kw’aylaxw First Nation, but her journey into her Indigenous identity began only last summer.
“I attended a camp at Simon Fraser University where I was with other Aboriginal students like me from my community,” said Lang. “Meeting them, and learning about our culture together was a great experience. We made drums we learned a song while also educating ourselves non-culturally but together. We still remain friends to this day.”
Though she is actively involved in her school’s international baccalaureate program and a member of various clubs and organizations, she says learning about who she is as a young First Nations woman through the camp has greatly impacted her sense of self.
“As a typical Canadian student who is unexposed to my own culture I didn’t realize that there was a part of me missing until I learned more about it,” said the 10th grader. “I wasn’t exposed to it but now that I’ve learned about it in class I’ve become more familiar with the hardships that some Aboriginal people face. Even if I don’t have to face the barriers some people do, I still feel like it’s my job to help my own community grow.”
Lang who jokingly admits she was “afraid of the ball” when she first started playing softball says the highlight of her young career so far was having the opportunity last fall to go to the United States as part of the Canada Futures program where she competed against College age students in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
“After going on that tour, I decided that softball is definitely something I want to continue on through post-secondary,” said Lang who primarily plays second base. “My ultimate goal would be to play for Team Canada in a future summer Olympics but as a stepping stone I’d like to play in college.”
With a packed schedule, Lang still finds the time to be involved with Best Buddies, an organization that pairs student volunteers with those with cognitive disabilities to build meaningful relationship. Next year she will be the president of the Best Buddies chapter at her school.
“I’ve made a lot of friends since grade-nine through the program,” said Lang. “I thoroughly enjoy being a friend that they can trust and I trust them as well.”
As a leader in her school community, Lang believes she is part of an upcoming group of passionate youth that will help to positively affect Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous communities.
“As as a new generation growing up, people should know we haven’t given up,” said Lang. “We are starting to persevere through to bring back truth and reconciliation into Canada. It takes the next generation of Aboriginal youth to join together and make people aware. I think we can make a lot of noise that people will listen to.”