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Cindy Swampy

January 2017

Cindy Swampy photo

  • Home Community:
    Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Manitoba
  • Cultural Identity:
    Swampy Cree from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, Treaty Territory 5
  • Current Position:
    Teacher, Exploration to Trades at YouthBuild- Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT)

    This program offers for-credit high school courses which include Woodworking, Construction Technology, Mathematics and English Language Arts at the Grade 12 level. Essential Skills and employment readiness outcomes are integrated into all courses. Students have the opportunity to obtain various safety certificates and their Driver’s License. In the later part of the school year students participate in construction related work experience. Upon successful completion students graduate with a Mature High School Diploma.

  • Education/Training:
    B.Ed. and B.A. from Brandon University (B.U.N.T.E.P) and Certified Reading Recovery Teacher
  • Roles/Responsibilties:
    Teach Grade 12 English Language Arts, First Nations, Inuit, Métis Issues and Career Development courses.
“Be proud of your culture, it defines who you are.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
When I decided to pursue a teaching degree, my husband and I had three small children. He started a new job, and I studied. It was quite the task to help my husband get the kids ready for school, and then leave them so that I could travel an hour north for school. In my fifth year of school, I had my last child. A week later, I was student teaching a Grade 3 class. Times were tough, but we got through it, and to add to this, I also chose to attend summer courses at the Brandon campus so that I could complete my courses earlier than the rest of my class.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
My mother always knew that education was important, and really encouraged me to graduate from high school. She really believed in me. She always said that I could do anything I wanted because I was a smart girl.

My mother was right! If you encourage the young, then they will believe they can achieve anything!

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
When I was young, I always knew I was going to work with the youth. I just didn’t know at the time in what capacity. The opportunity to become a teacher provided me with the platform for working with students of all ages. I worked a few years on reserve, and recently moved to Winnipeg to teach in the inner city. I teach a First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Issues course, and I have come to realize how important it is that these issues be taught in school. This includes history, ceremony, medicines and the revitalization of culture and language.

Message of Encouragement:
I’ve always believed in not overthinking ALL the things you must do, JUST DO IT! Sometimes overthinking things weigh you down with worry! There’s also a big world out there. Go see it! Be proud of your culture, it defines who you are. And last of all, work hard at everything you do!