“Youth are going to change the world! They know that the environment we live in needs to change for the better and they are going to be that change we all need.”

Ferrada Lightning

2024 Top 30 Under 30


AGE: 27


HOMETOWN: Mînî Thnî (formerly Morley), AB



  • Victoria International Development Education Authority (VIDEA)


What specific issue(s) are you taking on, and what inspires you to do so?

I am tackling the issue of cultural revitalization in both the Nêhiyaw (Cree) and Îyethka (Stoney Nakoda) communities in relation to Climate Justice. My ancestors, my Mosôm (Grandfather), and Kokôm (Grandmother) inspired me to learn about who I am, who my people are, and the history of my family. In addition, Indigenous people all over the world have an important message to share on protecting the environment and I will share what I learned from my people. I now know you cannot promote inanimacy in the natural living world, and Indigenous beliefs recognize that every living being has spirit and has a right to live as human beings do.

What does climate change or climate justice mean to you? To your work?

Climate Justice is promoting the rights of the natural world from an Indigenous perspective, as Indigenous people all over the world have advocated for the protection of their lands from colonizing efforts to profit off our shared biosphere that provides life. Colonizing efforts jeopardize the futures of our children and will take centuries to fix. To me, Climate Justice is recognizing that Mother Earth has spirit and that she needs young leaders to step up and change our systems so that she may survive and continue to support life.

What advice do you have for other young people looking to get involved in sustainable development?

I challenge the youth to learn who they are, who their people are, and the history of their families. Our diversity in culture, beliefs, and values is our strength and we need to understand that colonization is universal and needs to be reversed. Everyone’s people come from somewhere and most times people come to Canada to escape the effects of colonization in their own countries, as colonization takes away resources, opportunities, and leadership from the people and places that power into the hands of a few. Those same few people do not care for the global human family and have demonstrated through their actions that immediate profit and gain is more important than the future of the world.

Ferrada speaking at the 2023 Okimâw Awards in Edmonton as a leadership award recipient.

Ferrada speaking as a panelist at the 9th Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conference in Vancouver.

Ferrada co-hosted the Maskwacis Widows/Widowers on December 27, 2023 with his grandfather at the Howard Buffalo Memorial Center. He is pictured here with his girlfriend at the event.

Ferrada receiving a leadership award at the 2023 Okimâw Awards in Edmonton.

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