Profiles of Aboriginal Educators banner

Ron Cook

September 2014

ron cook photo

  • Home Community:
    Grand Rapids, MB
  • Cultural Identity:
    ininiw (Cree)
  • Current Position:
    Cree Language/Aboriginal Perspectives Coordinator -
    School District of Mystery Lake
  • Education/Training:
    Bachelor of Education - Major in Language Arts with Specialty
    in Native Language - Brandon University
  • Roles/Responsibilty:
    Support and enhance the development of the Cree Bilingual program at Wapanohk Community School and Cree as a Second Language programs in the district and the integration of Aboriginal perspectives into the curriculum and the classroom.
“Speak your language; even if you know only a few words, make them part of your everyday use.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
As a fisherman, we (I, my wife and five daughters) were classified as ‘living in poverty.’ We never felt we were poor but it was true we did not have much money. We lived off the land and learned to be self-sufficient, developing faith in Creator and the grandfathers and grandmothers that we were looked after.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are
in now?

The Cree language; it is my first language, taught to me by my parents.
I was forced to stop speaking it in school but worked hard to regain it after I became an adult. It is such a beautiful language and the more I learn about it, the more passionate I get about teaching it to others so that we never lose it.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I grew up in a traditional hunting, fishing, trapping family but changes to my community made me believe that was not an option for me. After a few years of different jobs, I went back to my roots and became a fisherman. The feeling of ‘coming home’ when I did this inspired me to become fluent in Cree and to learn about the traditional spiritual life of the ininiw. I felt the same feeling of ‘coming home’ the first time I entered the sweat lodge. Since then, I have been led to where I am now, trying not to say ‘no’ when opportunities arise.

Message of Encouragement:
Speak your language; even if you know only a few words, make them part of your everyday use. The more you use it, the more comfortable you get speaking it and the more words you will learn. Be persistent!