Kimberley and her daughter Sydney are members of the Sandy Bay Anishinabe Nation on the west shore of Lake Manitoba. The Anishinaabe people first settled in the Sandy Bay area in 1871, and as of 2013 there are approximately 6170 members of the community.The reserve is accessible by car, however, access can be limited due to the poor road conditions. Although it is not as remote as other reserves, the Sandy Bay reserve still faces many of the same issues which many other Nations do as a direct result of colonization.
Kimberley’s mother is a residential school survivor and, as a result, was taught that her Indigeneity was something to be ashamed of. Kimberly adopted this mentality early on and viewed her education as a way to prove herself and survive in a western society. Thankfully, in her early teenage years she started exploring what it meant to be Indigenous by attending ceremonies and meeting other Indigneous people. Through this exploration she became proud of her heritage and today, is the Chair of the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, is a director for End Homelessness Winnipeg, sits on the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and works with the United Way in addition to many other great organizations.
Sydney, Kimberley’s daughter, is currently working towards an honours degree in psychology and sits on a board of directors for Ka Ni Kanichihk, an urban Indigenous organization that serves families, women, and children. During her university experience, Sydney has struggled with her identity as an Indigenous person studying psychology, a field that has deep roots in Western culture. She has since come to terms with her situation and believes that she can use her education to reshape the current mental health resources to better suit the needs of the Indigenous population.
Although Kimberley and Sydney are members of two different generations, each has had to deal with the same struggle of living in a Westernized society while trying to remain attached to traditional Indigenous culture. It is evident that there is a significant amount of work that has to be done to make education more equitable for the Indigenous population in Canada as the current “one size fits all” approach to education is not suitable for everyone.
- The A.S.E Outreach Team