Threading together a future
My name is Deanne Morrison I am from Temagami First Nation but I was raised in Thunder Bay. My dad is from Big Island and my mother from Wabigoon. I turned 25 here in Toronto in January. I moved here in September 2008 to attend Fashion Techniques and Design at George Brown College. I had started a small business called AbOriginal Apparel that year selling apparel and fancy shawl dresses. I loved to sew and create things and I wanted to become more professional about it. I made nice dresses, but I knew I needed a solid foundation to develop it into a professional business.
The previous year I completed the Entrepreneurship Program at George Brown College. I loved the excitement of owning my own business and I knew it was for me. I need the freedom to travel all summer to powwows. I am a fancy shawl dancer and I have been dancing since I was a small girl. It is my passion and I knew I needed to follow my dreams.
My step-dad drove me here with my little sister. I had a place to live but I hadn’t had a chance to see it until that day. I got to see it at 2 p.m. and it was horrible. It was close to a bad neighborhood and it was in a small crowded basement. I was disgusted to discover mouse poop in the closet.
I knew I would find a place though, even though my step-dad was getting upset and yelling at me for not being as prepared as he thinks I should have been. While he was going to get change for the parking meter I found a posting on a pole on Spadina not far from my campus and I called it. Within 10 minutes I was viewing a small, small room in a very clean house right across the street from my school. So I took it and my family left back to Thunder Bay. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I loitered the Native Canadian Center for a few days and made some friends my age.
I am recovering from alcohol addictions and moving here was a nice fresh start. I feel like my life is moving on from that segment. I know addictions are a big problem in Thunder Bay, at times I even felt hopeless that I would never change. But I kept visualizing my goals and dreams of living a healthy traditional life and it’s getting easier.
School is very busy. My classes have 50-60 students per class. There are all sorts of browns here, not just dominantly Caucasian. It’s a very diverse place, downtown Toronto. I appreciate it though. You learn about places and cultures all over the world and I have opportunities to educate unaware people of our beautiful Culture.
The Native Community here is very strong. At the Native Canadian Center there are events and classes happening every night. There’s Cree and Ojibway languages, dance classes, traditional and hand drumming socials, and art classes. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many Anishnawbes making a difference here in Toronto.
But at times it gets lonely. I am heading home for the weekend to see my family. And it gets difficult but then I just have to remind myself of why I came here in the first place. My family is very supportive and I’ve met similar people here. Even though I’ve been here since September I feel like this is home now. The world is so big though and I want to explore all the beautiful places now. I think I’ve been bitten by the “travelling bug.”
After taking action on this dream of mine (coming to Toronto to go to fashion school) I feel stronger to follow every new dream I dream. I have one year left in my program and I’m still unsure of what I will do. I feel happy because I honored myself by coming here. I would encourage anyone just to do what they love. If you love it, it will just work out for the best.
I feel very lucky to be here. My life has had a lot of difficulties in the past. My grandpa went to residential school and its effects are still in me. I see them in my mother and my aunties. But there comes a time when you just have to decide what kind of life you want to create for yourself.
My choices were: alcoholic/drug addict on welfare or successful traditional happy woman. I of course am choosing successful traditional happy woman. Moving here has made me learn so much about myself and made me so much more mature about things. It’s what’s best for me at this time.
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Business contact number: 1-416-966-2384