Seven months ago, when we started down the First Nations and Metis Leadership Literacy Project trail, we were to list names of leaders and a few names came to mind, and I knew a few more, but wasn't sure they fit the bill. As students generated names, I knew maybe one in five.
Now my filing cabinet behind my desk is growing thick with stories. My white board is being papered with submission templates. I am putting names to faces. Faces to stories. Stories to history. History to treaty. Treaty to names.
Just ask me about Alma Poitras, Jeanette Herperger, Keitha Brass, Margaret Keewatin, Pauline Lavallee, Velma Goodfeather, Mike Pinay, Murray Ironchild, Michael Lonechild, Kevin Missins, and Wayne Goodwill, and I'll see faces, hear voices, and remember stories.
Just ask me about Chief Mike Star, Chief Perry Bellegarde, Chief Marie Ann Daywalker, Chief Roger Redman, Chief Tod Piegan and Deputy Minister Ron Crowe, and I'll tell you of leaders with vision, leaders who serve their people, leaders who speak with eloquence and passion.
Just ask me about Angie Smith, Gwen Paul, Kelsey Starblanket, Maureen Johns, Sandy Pinay Schindler, Francis Delorme, and Tatroy Lerat, and I'll tell you about professionals who are making a difference in the lives of young people.
As I save student articles in files along with pictures, the students pulling quotes, adding captions to the pictures, headlines for the stories, I am happy these names are familiar to me now. They were household names to many of my students, and now I've brought them home with me.