I grew up in Porcupine, Ontario, which is a northern community that is still struggling to improve inclusivity for Aboriginal Peoples. Growing up, I felt that if I told my classmates that I am Métis, my accomplishments would not be accepted at face value because there would be a perception that I was treated differently because of my Métis heritage. Despite my mother’s attempts to get me involved in the Métis community, it was not until I moved away for university that I found my voice as a Métis woman.
As a student, I found a welcoming home at the Aboriginal Student Centre on our campus. Being surrounded by other students who were so in touch with their culture helped me to quickly realize how unfortunate and sad it was that I had not been proud of my Métis ancestry growing up. It gave me the confidence to get involved in a number of activities and to seek teachings from Elders.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I went on to graduate from law school in 2014 and now work full-time at TD Bank as the Assistant Manager of External Legal Services. At TD, I am encouraged to celebrate my Métis ancestry, which I really appreciate. Sharing my personal narrative about how I became connected with my ancestry is always difficult, partly because I am uncomfortable being vulnerable, but mostly because I regret being so worried about how others would perceive me. Today, I’m very proud to be involved in the Métis Nation of Ontario and the Aboriginal legal community. We need more Indigenous people in positions of authority in politics, law, business, science and medicine to ensure that the Indigenous perspective can be heard. Aboriginal learners need to ask themselves, “Why not me?”