I was born in Sault, Michigan, adopted and raised on Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. The only language we spoke in the home was Ojibwe; I didn’t know how to speak English until I started school at 6 yrs old. I attended school on Manitoulin Island until I left at 16 yrs old; I quit school at grade 11.
Needless to say I had to return to school to obtain my grade 12 as that really kept me from obtaining better paying employment, succeeded in doing so and went on to College and graduated from the Developmental Services Worker program. I obtained employment shortly after where I worked for 16 years, by this time I had two boys, a daughter, and got married.
I moved to Wawa, where we bought our home to raise our children and they attended school here. I became involved with Michipicoten when I first applied for the Community Health Promotion Worker position. I fell in love with the community and really wanted a sense of belonging where I can actually participate and volunteer in events and activities, as I was very far from my community.
I did eventually transfer to Michipicoten, and after the Community Health Promotion Worker position I went on to apply and successfully secured the Education Counsellor Position when it became vacant. Thus begins my life’s journey at Michipicoten in the Education Field. A few years later I was directed as the Membership Clerk also. I found both these positions very interested and challenging, but most of all I got to meet so many of our citizenship from all corners of Mother Earth via technology but forever embedded in my heart. We are a very scattered First Nation which is awesome as one of our citizens is always seeing a different part of mother earth each day.
I was also able to be on Council for a few terms as an employee; until it came time that it was almost next to impossible to wear the two hats in areas of conflict issues and so on. I resigned from Council as I was really unable to fully participate in committees and various other matters, I felt that I was accepting funds (honorariums) for which I was not able to support or participate or just basically earn- in my own opinion. I continued on as an employee of Michipicoten until I retired in September 2018.
My bio is very brief and to the point in general as I do not like to mention too much of myself but if you ask me personally I will tell you about myself gladly.
Listed below are some volunteering, and visible accomplishments as an employee and citizen of Michipicoten:
- Planned and attended an Aboriginal Women’s Conference in Saskatchewan with two female elders and a female staff.
- Organized traditional drumming and teachings (Big Track & White Frost Drum), which spawned into parents advocating and supporting a community boys drum group.
- Supported and organized Square Dancing in the Community, a rare occasion as the fiddlers and callers not always available and now no longer able.
Organized and supported Halloween parties and other children’s community activities, assisted and supported most of the community meals such as Easter, Christmas and special event meals.
- We even had a rollerblade party back in the day when the Community Hall basement was vacant, don’t know how but we did and the kids had a blast.
Supported and advocated for student increase of living allowances as requested by students due to high costs of living and low funding allowance, we followed through at Council level and initiated increases as best able with funding allocations at the time.
- Revised Michipicoten First Nation Post Secondary Student Support Guidelines to update and expand from INAC’s national guidelines.
Continuously supported and assisted with the Youth and Elders Gathering, when I was not organizing I was working in the kitchen assisting staff.
Worked with staff in organizing and building our beautiful Lakeside pow wow grounds, assisted in maintaining the grounds, suggested needed resources such electrical outlets for vendors, PA system and lighting when needed.
- Continued working on the pow wow organizing and maintenance of grounds, volunteering in the end as I enjoy and felt the need to give back to my community.
- Supported and volunteered with Youth fund raising events such as the Halloween Trail, set up food booth at Pow wow for the Youth.
Assisted and supported the community garden set up and first planting.
- Planted and maintained the flowers by Health Center, they just added beautiful atmosphere for all
- Among others activities and requirements through my positions I thoroughly enjoyed my employment with Michipicoten and has surely allowed me to get to know the people and the community. Since my retirement I am now in the political arena and supporting and advocating for our overall citizenship.
- My employment term went through and observed four leadership changes for Michipicoten, and here we now stand growing stronger and becoming involved at all levels of the government in a professional and transparent manner and ensuring that our citizens are always at the forefront with us.
Today we have one beautiful great granddaughter, six wonderful grandchildren; my husband and I are now both retired. I busy myself with my crafting and volunteering here and there, enjoying my life to the fullest.