A proud Secwepemc woman, Sheila Dick takes delight in spending time with her foster baby Martin and her grandchildren Korbin and Brenden. At age fifty, she realizes how precious time is and enjoys family more than ever. If anything, Sheila has learned that even though life may deal one many hardships, one must appreciate the here and now.
Sheila returned to her home community of Ts'qescen' (Canim Lake) to work as the Counsellor/Family Support Worker and witnesses the devestations of colonialism on a daily basis. Working in such a situation would be mear impossible except for the obvious tenacity and strength she sees in the people she works with. So many positive changes that have happened in the community since Sheila came home to teach in 1980. It is truly a community to be proud to be a member of.
Sheila got her Bachlor of Education from the University of British Columbia in 1986 and entered into the education Master's program at UNBC in 1993. Even though she has not yet completed this degree, she feels she has been blessed to have her personal life supplemented with have the professional and academic experience. Over the years, she has come the appreciate the many gifts she has recieved from her ancestors without which she would not have been able to excel at such an academic or professional level.
More important is her determination to celebrate the gifts her four children and two grandchildren have attained through her. She also realized, in the last few years, that everything that has happened in her life happened for a reason and that knowledge, experience, and wisdom should never be wasted. So, simply, "everything from here on in is a bonus."
My name is Sherry Hunt-Humchitt, I come from a line of heredity chief system and have a very rich cultural background. I was born in Victoria and moved back home to my roots 22 years ago, to Fort Rupert-Kwakiutl Nation. I have work as a Community Health Worker for 20 years. I enjoy this health work and especially working with my community. I believe that community health work needs to be built from the community prespective and involve many groups especially our children, youth, elders, heredity chiefs and community. With our new health facility, I believe it has many opportunity for youth to go into health fields as, nursing, dental hygienst, dentist, lab technician, mental health, traditional medicines, etc. We need to encourage our youth to take hold of the many opportunity in health fields.
I am Tsalshmec of the St'at'imc of the Interior Salish. I graduated from teh University of Victoria in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters in Education of Counselling Psychology in 2004. I perform a combination of student advising and liaison duties. My primary role is to help the Faculty of Human and Social Development to be a more welcoming learning environment for First Nations (status/non-status), Metis and Inuit students through student support and encouraging relevant curriculum and instruction. As well, I have been seconded to the LENONET Research Project as Co-Principal Investigator in addition to my Advising duties.
Emily Kelly is from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, the northernmost First Nation in the Yukon. The Vuntut Gwitchin live in the community of Old Crow, a community with less than 300 residents, however the Gwitchin Nation spans across several communities in the Northwest Territories and Alaska. Emily grew up on the land, traveling around the vast Gwitchin territory to her families fishing, trapping and hunting camps where she only spoke Gwitchin until she was 9 years old at which time she was sent to attend residential school in Fort McPherson and then Inuvik. In Grade 10 Emily moved to Whitehorse to attend boarding school.
It was at this time that Emily realized that she wanted to be a nurse and work with people in the health field. Although, still very shy coming from such a small, closely tied community, Emily completed the training to become an LPN. After getting married, having two children, traveling with her husband to various countries and experiencing several occupations, in her 40's Emily decided to return to school to complete her high school equivalency, her pre-requisites for nursing and pursued her dream of becoming a nurse.
Emily has been a nurse for the past 15 years and although there have been a few bumps along the way, her career is incredibly rewarding in every way. She continues to attend school and pursue her education as a life long learner. She believes strongly in the value of education, is honoured to have been a part of this project and is committed to making a difference for her patients and her community.
"Eech'aul'ih'ol - O siem sia. I'tsun, Sellemah, Sellemah Lekwungen Whoa'multh Mettolia."
How are you my honoured friends, colleagues, and students. My name is Sellemah, which was my grandmother's First Nation name as I am Coast Salish from the Songhees First Nation community. My great-great grandparents are from the original and traditional territory of the Songhees First Nation known now as the Chatham Island and Discovery Island.
My English name is Joan Morris and I was raised by my great-grandparents and grandparents up until I was ten-years old. The most beautiful, loving, respectful time of my life was growing up on Chatham Island, which is located directly across from Oak Bay [on Vancouver Island]. My mother, who died at the young age of 65, was a victim of the horrendous experiments and drug inducements at Nanaimo Indian hospital for 15 years. She was sent there from the time I was two-weeks old. Consequently - because my father left, we were in this detestable hospital altogether for two years.
I am a First Nations grandmother, mother, auntie, sister, niece, cousin, diabetes consultant, diabetic-'ally', friendly/self-employed instructor, former nurse's aide, and elder-teachings advisor as well as a learner. I attended residential school where my culture was forbidden in order to emphasize what non-First Nations deemed was best for us. The government also agreed with the fact that practicing our culture was not in our best interests and banned important ceremonies. In my position as an advocate for healthier people and healthier communities, I envision a health and social system that fosters a positive self-concept, recognizes and teaches the culture so that First Nations peoples' quality of life can be improved in all facets and for all people from all walks of life.
Using medical, professional and cultural experiences through embracing traditional and spiritual values I have successfully linked culturally-appropriate services and medical training that is sensitive, respectful, and attentive to healthy ways of caring.
Leona is from Nuu-chah-nulth on the West Coast of Vancouver island and is a member of the Ehattesaht First Nations.
"I grew up mostly in Nanaimo and graduated at Nanaimo Senior Secondary School in 1989. I have one child and she is 13.
I started out in health care as a residential care aid attendant or long term care aid worker. I completed this certificate program when I was 20 in 2001 and worked in a residential group home for the next 5 years. I then decided I needed something more challenging career wise and I returned to school to complete required prerequisites to enter the diploma nursing program. I completed this program in 1999 and worked as registered nurse on acute medical/surgical wards for the next 5 years.
Again, I need some change and challenge in my nursing career and I entered the Bachelor of Science Nursing program as a post RN to complete my degree in nursing. This has taken two years of full-time studies and I will have completed this program at the end March 2006. My plans are to work as Community Health Nurse in First Nations communities and to be an motivational speaker to First Nations children and youth to encourage them to stay in school and continue on with their education no matter what challenges they may face in life.
I have a passion to see our First Nations communities grow healthy and strong through traditional values and beliefs alongside of western medicine. I think the two can work together to achieve better health for all First Nations people.
My next goal will be to complete the Nurse Practitioner program at University of Victoria in the near future."
Evelyn is from the Kwa-kwa-ka-wak Nation, of the Dzawadainox tribe in B.C. She has four children, 15 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. She is very proud to say she is fluent in her language and her cultural traditons. She learned alot from her parents and ancestors of their ways.
She returned to school after being widowed at an early age, left with 3 children to raise. Her education started in the residential school at Alert bay, then she started correspondence to up grade. She trained as Practical nurse first, then got her RN in 1979 from Douglas College, her BScN in 1990 at UVIC, her Masters in 1995 at Seattle and her PhD in 2002 from Stratford University.
Evelyn won many awards during her education years for doing well; $100 from DIA during her upgrading, $50 from I.O.D.E in Practical Nurses training, $1,500 from First Nations Health while in UVIC, then she was awarded the Nursing Excellence from Health Canada for making a difference while working with her people. Evelyn has been involved in making changes in the education system for her people, to make it work for them.
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