In a small world, we’re told that we will be the next generation who will carry out the work that was laid for us and that we will be the leaders of our people in the Cree Nation.
I never really understood what that meant or what that looked like because it was such as vague statement for me at a young age. It’s as if the language they were speaking had no relevance of the reality at the time.
Our leaders have always been keen to let the young people know that they are the future of our nation. Every meeting had a speech on the importance of education and to come back to our communities and serve our people. It’s non-binding for a Cree student to go back home but has the freedom to choose what they want to do with their careers.
From what I know, we were all given a purpose to take part of what is currently happening in Cree society and that is to have a higher education so that we can learn the ways of the westerners and protect our language and culture. I didn’t really understand how vital it is to preserve our Cree identity but it is.
One thing I don’t agree with what people want to do in our school system is that to get rid of our Cree language teachings in the beginning stages of our education. I think some people may argue that the school system failed our students but I’m not sure if I agree with that because we have Cree students who are really successful in their careers and their education right now.
My only concern is that what happened with the parents who should’ve been part of the process with their children’s education success. There is a huge emphasis on parents participation in our school systems but it seems that there isn’t much participation on the parents end, at least for some. (Cree world)
A child can be successful in the Cree school system with the Cree language going up to grade 3. I want to share a little story on why I think this is true.
I went to École Luke Mettaweskum School, from pre-k to grade 3, Cree language was taught as language of instruction. I loved speaking my language and learning at the same time. From grade 4, I had a choice to learn English or French as my language of instruction, I chose French because I thought that it was important for me to learn some French because I lived in Quebec and a lot of people outside Nemaska spoke French. It was kind of a win-win for me at a young age. Finally, I went up to grade 6 and I had to do an exam that will determine whether I can move forward to high school. I passed.
From Sec. 1 to 3, it was an interesting transition for me, I still spoke Cree but at the same time I was learning French and I spoke to my teachers in French and used it as much as possible. From Sec.4 to 5, work became harder and harder but I wanted to learn so I studied hard and asked my teachers for assistance because I had no idea what some French words meant and needed more explanation. I graduated in French high school with Honour stole, Valedictorian and Commissioners Award and Governors General Award.
I’m not going to lie but it was hard. I had my mind set where I wanted to be successful in life and wanted my education out of the way so that I can move on to the next thing in my life. I worked for two years at a radio station as an assistant to the radio host. I always wanted to be a host.
I went to Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue and finished a year. I went back home because the radio host position was open and I really wanted that job and I got it. I worked there for about 2 years and it was the greatest experienced of my life.
I moved to Toronto for about a year and a half. I did numerous things while living in the city. I was in a small group with a group of guys and we hung around a lot and became good friends and we got to know about each other.
We were family. It was the greatest time of my life and we travelled a couple of places in the city doing things for others. Like volunteering for an organization to run workshops and do live performances. It was a great time. We even went to England and France. I loved it.
I met a couple of people in Europe so I vowed that I would go a visit them. So I did. I lived in Europe for about 4 months in total. I went to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. I went hiking on a huge mountain in Austria,
I went to a program in Journalism at Ryerson University. Writing isn’t always easy because writing is so damn hard. In Toronto, this is where I grew up as an adult. This is where I realized the potential in myself. This is where I can be whatever I want to be and I would be happy with it. This is where I met my girlfriend and I’m so in love with her.
This is where I got a puppy. This is where I learned to be independent. This is where I went to my first movie audition. This is where I made a home. This is where I met people who believe in my dreams.
I’m not sure how I’m going to end this but I’ll continue on another note next time. Until then, enjoy yourselves 🙂