What nation do you belong to? Saulteaux woman from George Gordon First Nation in Treaty 4 territory
Where is your home community? I grew up in Regina, SK in Treaty 4 territory, and moved to Winnipeg 2 years ago.
What makes you happy and inspires you? I am inspired by Indigenous youth, particularly those who are organizing for better futures for our children. Now more than ever, we see Indigenous youth coming together in really big and monumental ways to protect our lands, water, and sky with such boldness and fierceness. It is incredible to witness.
What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishments are found frequently in the times I have set boundaries for myself and protected my spirit. This definitely took years of practice, and every day I am still learning about where my spirit is valued and when it is necessary to protect it.
What is an assumption or hurtful stereotype that has been said about you? I started high school at a predominantly white and wealthy catholic school. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was during those years that I learned about the intersectionalities of being both a young woman and an Indigenous person that would make me a target for sexism and racism. As someone who developed early and had visibly brown skin, I was bullied to the point of a deep and dark depression that I nearly took my own life.
What is a racist remark you’ve been called before?
– “a native living off government handouts”
– “you’re so exotic, where are you from?” or “exotic” (-_-)
– “lazy and jobless” for protesting
What can non-Indigenous folks do to educate themselves and create meaningful change? I encourage non-Indigenous folks to actively shift what they consume. Movies, television, literature and artwork are just a few ways that Indigenous people tell their stories and there are so many sources and lists that can help decolonize your every-day consumption. Ensure Indigenous creators are paid for their work, too!
What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you could? I would tell my younger self that things get better, and that the bullying I endured would only be a massive source of my strength later on in life. I would tell her how beautiful her brown skin is, and that she would soon grow to love it and feel at home in it.
Who is a role model you look up to and why? I am driven towards change by Two-Spirit, Queer and Trans Indigenous youth. Winnipeg has an incredible group of organizers that I am in awe of. Organizers like Sadie-Phoenix Lavoie, Kakeka Thundersky and Brielle Beardy-Linklater are all such powerful voices for our community and their bravery is something I truly admire.
You’re proud to be Indigenous because…? I am proud to be Indigenous because my ancestors, my mom and my sister fight to be here every single day. Our people experienced decades of attempted erasure by the state, and we still see it happening today, and yet I get to be here and experience joy, love and laughter because my ancestors made sure it would be this way for us.