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Gail Ledoux

April 2015

Gail Ledoux photo

  • Home Community:
    Peguis, Manitoba
  • Manitoba Cultural Identity: Ojibwe
  • Position:
    Senior Years Teacher
  • Education/Training: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education at University of Manitoba
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    Teach Senior High Social Studies courses and Biology 30S, 40S courses as documented in Manitoba Curriculums.
“You can do whatever you set your
mind to. Believe in yourself and
don't love your sleep.”

Tansi, Hello, my name is Gail Ledoux. I was born in The Pas, Manitoba on May 20, 1960 and was raised in Grand Rapids, Manitoba. I grew up on the Grand Rapids Reserve. I was raised speaking our Cree language until I started school. I was very fortunate to be born to two wonderful parents who instilled in me the importance of a good education and employment in order to sustain a good life. I didn’t hear a single English word spoken in our home until I started school. I started my education on the Grand Rapids reserve in a one room school house, then moved to the now Frontier school. I finished my Grade twelve in 1983 at Grand Rapids High School. I enrolled into the Social Work Program at the University of Manitoba in September 1983. I withdrew from the program after I realized this was not an area that I wanted to get into. That fall I was accepted into the Program for the Education of Native Teachers (P.E.N.T) Program at Brandon University. I finished one year and moved away from Grand Rapids to Easterville. I had the opportunity to return to the P.E.N.T program in 1992. I graduated with my four year Bachelor of Education degree in 1997. I started teaching Grade five. I realized that there was quite a bit of issues missing regarding Aboriginal Education. I wanted to see how other reserve schools operated in the north and it was my dream to go and work at various schools to observe the educational systems in remote communities. Thus began my fourteen year journey across northern Manitoba. My first stop was Pukatawagan and this is where I met my partner. We’ve been together for eighteen years now. We traveled and taught in five schools in the north. This experience was something that I would recommend for young teachers to do. We made many lasting friendships and the students were phenomenal. You soon come to realize that you have to use your creativity in order to give your students a positive learning experience.  I was so happy when Google came into the picture I always say it is the world’s biggest library and resource center. During this time I still felt like there was more I can do to better myself, academically. In 2003 I went back to pursue my fifth year degree and graduated in 2005. My partner continued to encourage me not to stop and pursue my Master’s Degree in Education which I did and graduated from in 2011. I always felt the pride of finishing a higher degree with my loved ones beside me here in this world and the spirit world.

I have one sister and four brothers. Both of my parents were church-going people and along with the seven teachings they had a strong faith and taught us to have an open mind to other beliefs and my siblings and I were fortunate to grow up with these beliefs. I instilled these same beliefs and teachings to my own children. I have one daughter and three sons. I have been blessed to date with fourteen beautiful grandchildren. As far as I can remember I have always loved being around children. When I first got my driver’s license I would go down the reserve picking up the children so we could go spend the day at the local swimming hole. I usually packed a lunch for them so they wouldn’t get hungry. My Nanny (Grandma) would say, “Those children are going to take you to a good place”.

Although at times it has been an uphill struggle to get to where I am today I am grateful for all the supports I had through my family, friends, colleagues, and professors. My educational journey would not have been possible if they didn’t believe in me and stand by me. I am not quite done yet I am still looking at pursuing my PH.D in the near future.

The greatest thing we can do as educators for our young people is to encourage them to believe in themselves, and to pursue  whatever they want to and to instill the importance of education. With a little push and a lot of caring we can steer them in the right direction. There is a beautiful life out there other than the negative habits that many of our young people fall victim to. Let them know how important it is to maintain a good job and to be independent after they accomplish their goals. Growing up my Dad would always say as he would be waking us up, “get up, get up, don’t love your sleep, if you love your sleep you will always be a lazy person and if you’re a lazy person you will always be poor” so with those words ringing in my ears I would force myself to get up every morning and attend my classes.

Today I live and teach high school Language and Culture in Easterville, Manitoba. I enjoy working with the students, staff and parents of Chemawawin School. I was in Administration for seven years but I missed being in the classroom and I saw that the young people were starting to lose their language. It is so important to maintain our language as it shapes us as a Cree people. This is the language that was given to us and it is a beautiful gift from the Creator. I am very adamant that parents talk to their children at home in the Cree language, they are the ones that are going to carry it on into the future. I am a published author and I have a Cree children’s book out called, “Shanna’s Christmas Pudding” through the Manitoba Education Resource Center. It was originally published in 1997 by Bear Paw Publishing.

In my spare time I like to spend it with my family, especially my grandchildren. I love to read, write and to listen to CBC radio. I am not much into technology but I do know the basics and try to keep up-to-date with what’s new. If I can share something with our youth it would be that no matter how hard life’s struggles and challenges are, keep focused on your dreams. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Believe in yourself and “don’t love your sleep.”

Thank You,
Ekosi!