by Josiah OneStar, 19 years old, graduate of Jefferson High School.
Tribal member of Sincangu Band of Lakota, Lyackson First Nations of British Columbia

“What really inspires me is the absence of my father. I don’t think I’d be the man I am today if he was in my life. I learned how to shoot my first hoop without him. I learned how to go on a date without him. I learned how to do a lot of things without him. I thought that was supposed to be a man’s priority was to make sure that his kids are able to learn from him. But I was able to learn for myself. I felt like I was a young man then. Being able to take care of my mother I felt like that was a man’s job. 

I did a lot of things that a man should’ve done but he wasn’t there. So I just stepped up to the plate the best I could, making sure that my mother’s okay. It’s the little things like that that really inspire me. 

“There is hope in this world.”

In the future I want to be helping youth, making sure that they get that male support, that backbone. We all struggle from the fact that we don’t have a father in our life and the fact that our mothers have to step up to the plate to do both. 

I just want to work with kids who struggle through the same things that I did. I want to make sure that they feel loved and that there is comfort and success for them and that there is hope and that they’re able to do whatever they hell they want. There is hope in this world. That’s where the tough layer of skin has to come in, you have to have that hope. It’s tough and it’s sad that you don’t have that male figure in your life but you have to grow that tough skin in order for you to move on. Because if not and you hold on to it and then grow that tough skin, then it’s going to be killing you from the inside. That’s probably the worst thing you can do as a young person is holding onto that grudge.” 

— Interview and photo by Mischa Webley