Feature #9 – Ashley Johnson

What nation do you belong to? I belong to the Metis nation.

Where is your home community? Winnipeg, Manitoba

What makes you happy or inspires you? I’m happiest when I’m with my family, or running outdoors.

What is your proudest accomplishment? My proudest accomplishment are my 2 beautiful sons.

What is an assumption or hurtful stereotype that has been said about you? 
It was assumed that I was lying about my father being a doctor when I was growing up. The idea that an Indigenous man was a doctor was unfathomable.

What is a racist remark you’ve been called before? I’ve been called an “Indian” numerous times growing up, “a squaw”, and “a native”. 

What can non-Indigenous folks do to educate themselves and create meaningful change? Education, education, education. I firmly believe this is where it all starts. If non-Indigenous folks could be properly educated from the time they start school, all the way into secondary institutions on the true histories of our country, and the current injustices we still face – things could be different. It’s easy to make assumptions, and create our own stories when we do not know the full truth. Libraries, community centers, and workplaces could create more anti-racism courses and open discussions.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self if you could? I would tell myself to be proud of who I am, and not pretend to be something I’m not in order to avoid being made fun of.

Who is a role model you look up to and why? My dad – he has dedicated his life and medical career to being a voice for the Indigenous community. He fights daily with the injustices our people face through racism in the healthcare field. 

You’re proud to be Indigenous because….? I’m a proud Indigenous woman because of our resiliency. We have lost whole nations, we have lived through residential schools, 60’s scoops, a pandemic against our women and girls, land we are still having to protest over, and a country that has yet to see us as human. But here we stand, strong and proud, never giving up on what is right for our people and communities. 

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