Indigenous Excellence

Brandi Vezina

May 2013

Brandi Vezina photo

  • Home Community:
    Stony Point, Manitoba
  • Cultural Identity:
  • Current Position:
    Grade 7 English Language Arts Teacher
  • Education/Training: Bachelor of Environmental Science 4 year (Major) Bachelor of Education
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    Coach volleyball, run the Honoring Spirit family group; an Aboriginal cultural advisor teaches Aboriginal students and parents, as well as non-Aboriginal students and parents about traditional cultural teachings. I run an environmental activism group, Tigers Go Green, on a weekly basis. Past AAA Committee member, coached softball, Give Group leader, Engagement Middle Years Committee and Restorative Justice Committee member.
“Love yourself! Love will heal us and we can not give what we don’t have.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I was raised by a single mother who tried her very best to give me all that she could. I had to make a choice to better my own life and decided to pursue post-secondary education. I made many mistakes along the way; however, the mistakes I made were my greatest teachers. Often times, I had to overcome obstacles head on and not let fear rule my life. I believe a woman has to have a heart and a brain to make something of herself in this life.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
David Suzuki has always been one of my biggest inspirations; however my family was extremely surprised when I chose to pursue a teaching career. As a woman in science, especially an Aboriginal woman, I could have gone into industry with a much larger paycheque. However, I went against the grain and knew, like David Suzuki, I could bring my environmental ethics into the classroom and engage students’ hearts while in their adolescence.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
The most critical choice I have made personally is to live life without alcohol. In order to truly be a role model to my students and their families and also to create a new life for myself I had to learn to live the sweetgrass way of life; mind, body and spirit in balance.

I have had to change my friends, social network, values, learn the value of self care, find a Higher Power and be one with my life’s purpose. Today, I am proud of myself and truly know I am making a positive difference in the life of children and teaching children to care about the earth and future generations.

Message of Encouragement:
Love yourself! Love will heal us and we can not give what we don’t have. Learn to truly love who you are and teach the children you work with to love, respect and honor themselves, others and our earth.