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CONGRATULATIONS! VCLA Winner Jo-Ina Young – Lifelong Learner

Jo-Ina Introduces herself with the traditional Métis language - Michif. Unique names are an integral part of her family.

“Jo is from Little Women … and my aunt’s name was Levina so my Mom put those together with a hyphen but I’ll answer to any J sound”

Although Jo-Ina grew up without knowing about being Métis, a serious illness generated an interest in genealogy. This quest led to the discovery of being related to famous Métis activists. While travelling through Winnipeg, Mrs. Young discovered a book that connected her to an indigenous leader and to a confidante of Louis Riel’s.

Jo-Ina was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan but has lived most of her life on Vancouver Island. During her childhood, Jo-Ina learned leadership skills from her mother and from literature. Jo-Ina’s mom was an excellent role model. Not only was she athletic and artistic, but also very humble and kind. Some of Jo-Ina’s other role models come from literature. She quotes “Les Miserable”:

“Go and do something good”

Jo-Ina defines community leaders as people who provide positive motivation and encouragement. They offer assistance and provide connections when necessary.

“A good leader will take a backseat after they have taught somebody to do something and hope that they excel”

Jo-Ina has spent most of her life sharing knowledge and skills, a quality possessed by outstanding leaders. Jo-Ina Young is the Cultural Director for the Metis Nation of Greater Victoria. She is passionate about presenting Métis culture and heritage in elementary schools.

Mrs. Young had several early leadership experiences. At the age of 12, Jo-Ina took on a leadership role as a swimming instructor and lifeguard under mentorship of established coaches. As a sales manager, Mrs. Young took the time to get to know the individuals on the sales team creating an environment where the team felt good about their strengths. As a result, the company’s sales increased. Mrs. Young also uses this successful strategy when she does presentations to children; she will maintain their attention by talking about their interests and by providing tactile experiences.

Jo-Ina is excited about the future. She is enthusiastic about continuing to teach Métis language and culture and is happy to help others discover their Métis heritage.

The Victoria Community Leadership Awards recognizes contributions of leaders in Greater Victoria. This annual celebration consists of twenty categories that acknowledge the various strengths of outstanding leaders. The Awards are presented at an awards ceremony hosted by Leadership Victoria and sponsored by the Victoria Foundation.

You can learn more about the Métis:

Métis Nation of Greater Victoria: Métis Nation of Greater Victoria (

Island Métis Family and Community Services Society:

Métis Nation of British Columbia:

By Madeline Johnston - Blogger

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