What nation do you belong to? I am Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) of Keeseekoowenin First Nation
Where is your home community? live urbanely in the north end of Winnipeg where I am raising my children and working, I love my north end community, although it gets a bad wrap due to spacialized violence but it is a beautiful community of resilience and strength. I also have ties to three communities in Manitoba (Treaty 1 and 2) Keeseekoowenin First Nation where my dad is from, Sagkeeng First Nation where my mom is from and Peguis First Nation where my husband and children are from and where my great-grandmother was from before she taken to Residential school in Fort Alexander and lived the remainder of her life in Sagkeeng. I always acknowledge these three communities because they are a piece of who I am as an Anishinaabe Ikwe.
What makes you happy and inspires you? ceremony, love and kindness, walking with folks on their journey of life, working from a heart place, my babies and my husband, art, poetry, beading, painting, listening to music, drumming, the few friends I have in my life.
What is your proudest accomplishment? My children and watching them grow, they are such beautiful human beings and I am very blessed. I am also proud to be on my journey of self love and being able to speak my truth as a First Nation woman. I am very proud to practice and be connected to my Anishinaabe spirituality and culture. I’m proud to say I am in my third year of sundance and I am so honored to be able to participate in such a beautiful ceremony. Making and maintaining my relationships with people I hold close. I have so much gratitude to be able to do the work I do and walk alongside folks and every person I meet I am honored to be a part of their journey. I am proud that I have taught myself to bead and paint it is my medicine when i need it most.
What is an assumption or hurtful stereotype that has been said about you? That I am a ‘dumb Indian’, ‘I won’t amount to anything’, ‘ drunk and drug addict’, ‘ you’ll just be another statistic’, ‘I am a gang member’, ‘drug seeker’, ‘bad parent’, ‘don’t pay taxes’, ‘get a free ride’. I have heard all of these things in my 34 years of life, whether it be directly, indirectly or about other Indigenous people. It has taken a toll on my heart and spirit, but I try to fight those daily by attempting to provide education and confronting the ideology but it doesn’t come without exhaustion.
What is a racist remark you’ve been called before? squaw, lazy & dumb, gang member and dirty. It is hurtful to write these down but I want people to know that as a First Nation woman I am not what society has put into your head about me. I am not what settler society wanted you to believe, I deserve dignity and respect because I am a human being.
What can non-Indigenous folks do to educate themselves and create meaningful change?
– Be mindful of your defensiveness and don’t argue
– Educate yourself on white supremacy, white privilege, white fragility, colonization and assimilation
– Be accountableDo not tokenize or fetishize indigneous people and our culture, spirituality and way of life.
– If you say you are and “ally” then actually be an ally and don’t jump on the bandwagon just because you want recognition.
– Do things from a heart place not an ego place
What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you could?
– Love yourself & know your worth
– Always speak your truth
– Don’t dim your light for anyone
– Work from a heart place not an ego placeDon’t be so shy and quiet and use your voice
Who is a role model you look up to and why? Buffy St. Marie- activist and music artist- I’ve loved her since I was a kid. She amazes me and is such a beautiful artist! Christie Belcourt and Issac Murdock- artists, activists, land and language defenders. Tinelle Campbell – amazing poet, photographer , academic who talks about relationships, sexuality, pleasure and normalizes these “taboo” concepts. My mom she is strong, resilient and kind and has put up with so much bullsh*t and doesn’t let it bring her down.
You’re proud to be Indigenous because…? I have nothing but love and gratitude for being a part of such a beautiful culture and community. I’m proud to come from such strong communities and strong women. I’m proud that I am taking accountability and responsibility to heal from colonial traumas that continue to impact my family and I am trying to break these cycles. I come from dysfunction but I also come from resiliency, strength and love.