The international development sector has witnessed an increasing shift towards programming focused on feminist goals and Indigenous inclusion over the past decade. In this context, the government of Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership has branded itself a feminist and progressive leader in the sector. Canada launched its Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP), as well as pledged 100 million dollars to small and medium-sized civil society organisations over five years to renew the government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples at home and abroad. These commitments contextualise Canada’s International Aboriginal Youth Internship (IAYI) initiative, where eight organisations have been funded to offer Indigenous Canadian youth professional experience in the international development sector. Indigenous youth, as the programme’s objectives make clear, are expected to act as good ‘Canadian global citizens’ and, in so doing, gain labour market experience that prepares them for employment or education post-internship. This article is sceptical of the IAYI’s objectives, ones that seek to include Indigenous peoples into a historically colonial field without regard for Indigenous peoples’ well-being and knowledge before, during, and after the programme. Drawing on decolonial, Indigenous, and feminist theoretical frameworks, this article undertakes a disruptive discursive analysis of the IAYI. We illuminate how the programme engages in the instrumentalisation of Indigenous youth, superficially celebrating their potential as global citizens, but ultimately leveraging this inclusion to bolster Canada’s international image abroad. Nevertheless, through previous interns’ experiences with the programme, we aim to humbly suggest transformative possibilities for the IAYI.
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