What we were meant to be
I am a big fan of SEVEN Youth Magazine. Each time I read SEVEN, I am humbled and inspired to be more focused. I really believe in the notion of the Seventh Generation Story where the vision of the seventh fire is mentioned and where we are the ones to turn things around.
I always tell people that we have to stop waiting for another time or for another person to do it. To change the way things are. We are the people we have been waiting for! We are the Seventh Generation to turn things around. For the past few years, I have been on a journey to find a meaningful life for myself and I found what I was looking for. I encourage you to take that step into your personal journey, I encourage you to find out who you are, who you want to become, have strong values for yourself, stick to them, and when it’s time to make decisions or be asked for comment, you will no longer say you don’t know, because you have that foundation you set for yourself, and most importantly, be yourself, don’t be afraid to show the real you, be open to dialogue, engage in conversation, live each day to your fullest and you’ll find out what you’re meant to do.
I think it is important that everyone takes time out to reflect and really look at the big picture of your life. There are so many issues yet to be dealt with. We need to talk about those issues no matter how difficult that will be. One that concerns me the most is the overall health of our First Nations people, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. As First Nations people we’ve been given the gift of being named for the four parts of human beings and I know it’s been really tough to keep all four balanced because of our history. A lot of us are still struggling. But for us to able to function, we must take that first step into our journey to find that balance so we can set a good future for the next generations of First Nations people. We didn’t survive for nothing. The journey to living your best life is never too late or too long, because you’ll start to find answers to all your unanswered questions and the void you feel will start to heal.
If I could describe the last five years of my life in one word, it would be: Growth. I discovered so many things about myself and about living life to the fullest. I didn’t know I had in me to do public speaking, but that had been brought out of me in Toronto. I remember giving a speech at Project Beyshick’s social event and this big time CEO came to chat with me and he said “I admire your passion. How did you become the person you are today?” I replied “My late grandmother Rhoda Chikane, a very outspoken, strong lady.”
We chatted more about how China recovered from deep poverty and started discussing ways we can lessen the poverty in Canada’s backyard. It was great chatter, but I knew it was better to walk the talk instead of talking the walk.
Over the past few years, I’ve had chances to partake in opportunities which not only allowed me to meet some of the most successful individuals in Canada, but to also expand my capabilities and network. The best experience about being involved with projects out of the community is feeling that energy of motivation emanating from the people around me. I can’t seem to find that in my home community.
It’s a tough environment to live in a remote community: although you’re trying to maintain a good life unaffected by the negativity, you can’t ignore the problems and issues facing the community. I used to tell my grandmother, “When I am done school, I am never coming back,” but she told me my heart will always be rooted in the reserve and it is important that I give back to the community. I used to laugh at her when she used to tell me we were living in the government’s house and it was important I grew up to be self-dependent. I answered, “But grandmother, their house wouldn’t look like this.” I didn’t fully come to terms what she meant until I learned more about the history and issues facing First Nations. Even though we may feel that our community hasn’t done anything for us, it is our responsibility to change that and to contribute in helping improve the quality of life for all of us. It is from this that I feel I need to do something for the community. We have started an open dialogue to find ways the youth can create and achieve an active sustainable youth council. I also started writing proposals to my networks to collect gently used information and educational books for the adult demographic in the community. It’s a work in progress, but if it wasn’t for the support of the Order of Canada Mentorship Program, of which I am a member, to keep me afloat, my mindset wouldn’t continue to be where it is today. So all the support any young person gets from family, friends and colleagues: it is truly invaluable. It is time for young people’s dreams to be realized and respected.
Kyra Kaminawaish is from Weagamow Lake First Nation