Three cousins from Garden River First Nation were the most recent winners of a hack-a-thon competition. Teams were asked to come up with a plan on how they would spend $500,000 over three years to encourage electric vehicle use in Indigenous communities.
This online competition was open to teams of youth ages 18-30 and was hosted by Indigenous Clean Energy and SevenGen.
Chris Seymour, Aaron Jones and Megan Young are first cousins who took the time to participate in the hack-a-thon, all while pursuing their own academic excellence. Seymour is a fourth year aerospace engineering student. Jones is a junior researcher for the Firelight Group which supports the rights and interests of Indigenous and local communities. Young is a biology graduate from UBC and is currently working as a wildlife biologist at the Toronto Zoo.
The cousins were up against 7 other teams in this competition. All teams were asked to come up with a 15 minute presentation over the 5 day e-gathering.
The winning idea the team came up with was to purchase two 15-seat electric passenger vans that could transport Garden River First Nation members back and forth from Sault Ste. Marie. This would allow members of the community who do not have their own vehicles to travel into town for the necessities. With the excess money, they proposed installing electric car charging stations in Indigenous communities along Lake Huron.
The trio won $5,000 for their idea, which they split between them.
In an interview with Anishinabek News, Seymour states “I’d like to certainly present it to the Chief and Council someday.”