Feature #2 – Sarah Eyota Riel Delaronde (Eagle Cloud Woman)

What nation do you belong to? I am a member of Pimicikamak Cree Nation but also have ties to Duck Bay and Crane River, Manitoba. I am Cree, Salteaux, Metis, Dakota and also French and Scottish.

Where is your home community? I was born in the Pas but have lived the majority of my life in Winnipeg.

What makes you happy and inspires you? My children make me happy and inspire me to keep going when I’m feeling weak. They are the greatest gifts I’ve been given.

What is your proudest accomplishment?  My proudest accomplishment has been my commitment to ceremony and from that, being able to teach my children this way of life.

What is an assumption or hurtful stereotype that has been said about you? Something that I’ve dealt with for my entire life is everybody else’s opinion of my identity. I can never be whole in anybody else’s eyes. I’m either too white looking or too native for different crowds.

What is a racist remark that you’ve been called before? Squaw, Indian and Half-breed.

What can non-Indigenous folks do to educate themselves and create meaningful change? Rather than asking Indigenous folks to educate them, do your homework. Use the internet and read the literature that’s already out in public domain. Lay that groundwork first, then offer tobacco and ask the questions. Most importantly, our emotional labor and knowledge isn’t free. Take care of your knowledge keepers in a good way. It’s exhausting to answer the same questions repeatedly. 

What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you could? You are valid. You are enough. You don’t need to prove yourself to anybody.

Who is a role model you look up to and why? I have two. Firstly, my mother is one of my biggest role models. She does a lot of hard work in such a calm and gentle way. She raised me as a single mother and helps me now as I’ve also become a single mother. Secondly, my good friend Janine. She has preserved through so much and always come out on top. She is an amazing mother to three beautiful girls. She has taught me a lot simply by being my friend and like an older sister.

You’re proud to be Indigenous because…? I’m proud to be Indigenous simply because my people are so resilient. 

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