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Amie Martin

November 2014

Amie Martin photo

  • Home Community:
    Chemawawin First Nation
  • Cultural Identity:
    Swampy Cree
  • Current Position:
    Aboriginal Education Learning Specialist Brandon
    School Division
  • Education/Training:
    Bachelor of Teaching
    Bachelor of Education
    Masters’ in Education (pursuit) Level 1 – School
    Administrator’s Certificate
    Level 2 – Principal’s Certificate
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    Provide expertise, knowledge,
    and support to schools for the education process of all students regarding the significance of indigenous Aboriginal culture, values and history
“If you become discouraged in life, seek those who have the knowledge, experience and support to help you bring back the dreams you had before.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
To find out whom I am, where I came from and who I am today? My journey began when I was a young girl, born and raised on a Reservation. My belief back then was not promising. I thought I was destined to live on the Reserve, in poverty, lack of employability skills and poor education.

I attended school only until middle years because we did not have a High School. I could have attended school off the reservation but my parents were totally against it, I believe this choice was based on my age and the experience my mother endured while she was in a Residential school. She felt what had happened to her was going to happen to me.

Eventually the time had come to make my own choices and I choose to leave the Reservation, head to the nearest place to continue my education. I enrolled in an adult education program which I completed successfully and returned to the Reservation shortly thereafter. The yearning to pursue a career as well as receive a good education was still there, and it took a huge effort to finally make this happen.

When I began University, I took a few introductory courses to aid me in preparing for a teaching profession. This decision came with many challenges and obstacles that I had not expected to encounter and therefor I struggled. I was lonely and felt isolated in this new environment, which included a different culture, language and very unsettled times.
The language gave me the most problem because it was a second language.  I wasn’t sure that I could handle it. I was frightened that I would say the wrong words, convey the wrong meaning so I remained silent for the first three years. Those difficult experiences gave me the motivation to continue to strive forward.  I came to understand that the struggles I faced were there to help me build the skills, tools and strength I needed to fulfill the dreams and aspiration I had set for myself from when I was young girl.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
While studying at the university I made connections with certain positive individuals. It was their encouragement, understanding and support that gave me the courage and strength to believe in myself and have the ability to find solutions to overcome the jagged edges that were embedded in some of my obstacles. I had been side tracked over and over again, many times arriving at the same place only to be forced to begin again. My life journey was not supposed to be smooth. I left home to search for my future and found it. I am now a proud Indigenous woman who has learned to continue to walk forward no matter what. I held out my arms to embrace those wonderful people, for they are a significant part of making me who I am today; in the fullness of my destiny, a future of well-learned and well lived.

It was not long ago that I received the 7th Annual Maria Ross Memorial Award in recognition of my hard work, commitment and advocacy for First Nations Community Education. This was one of the greatest honors bestowed upon me.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
I have been a professional educator for 36 years. I have committed myself to working with Aboriginal communities. I have become a pillar in my community, and strived to provide the best education possible to my people.

Message of Encouragement:
One has to be strong in body, soul and spirit - to be proud of who we are, where we came from and what we can be; to survive in today’s society. If you become discouraged in life, seek those who have the knowledge, experience and support to help you bring back the dreams you had before. Stand straight, focus with straight eyes, know that you are not alone, grow past of all self-doubt and follow the footsteps of the wise. Your journey will be worth it as much as mine.