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Rose Bird

November 2016

Billy Flett photo

  • Home Community:
    Wasagamack First Nation, Manitoba
  • Cultural Identity:
    First Nation, Oji-Cree
  • Current Position:
    Indigenous Student Support Teacher
  • Education/Training:
    Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education, Double Major: Aboriginal Languages/Geography; RRC Aboriginal Language Specialist Diploma
  • Roles/Responsibilties:
    ECHO Teacher Nelson McIntyre Collegiate, Louis Riel School Division Grade 9 Interdisciplinary PBL Classroom Teacher & Grade 10 Math/Science/Geography

    The ECHO Program is a classroom community enriched with Indigenous perspectives for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.  It is a program that works with an Indigenous teacher to support students who want an education enriched with an Indigenous focus.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and if you do, the key is to learn from them.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
As an residential school survivor, I know and understand the lasting impact that experience can have on a family. I have faced many obstacles in my life including being raised by a single parent, being a child in care for long periods of time, being shuffled around the foster care system, dropping out of high school at 14, living in poverty, involvement in the justice system, overcoming addictions, being a single parent to my nephew, and so on. I have had to overcome many barriers in my life and I have done so with support from family and close friends. But more importantly, I have done so with the belief and confidence in myself. Believing in yourself is your first step to success.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
Throughout my life I have had many inspirational people and moments that have contributed to where I am today. My mom has always been a source of inspiration. Despite her traumatic experiences in residential school, she is one of the kindest, generous and most forgiving people I know. Her struggle fueled my strength and persistence for a better life. The tragic loss of my sister had a tremendous impact on my family and I promised myself at that time I would somehow break my family from the devastating cycle that we were in.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
Going back to school at 18 years old and earning my GED diploma was the first step I made in the right direction.  It led me to pursuing my education at Red River College, which then led to attending the University of Winnipeg.  Making the decision to become a full time caregiver to my nephew, Nathan, was also huge contributing factor to where I am today. It made me realize that I needed to set a good example for him and be a responsible, positive role model.  I learned how to manage my time more effectively, juggle work, school and parental duties.

Message of Encouragement:
Be who you are and be grateful for what you have. Always believe in yourself and never doubt your abilities. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and if you do, the key is to learn from them. Take advantage of every positive opportunity that presents itself to you and don’t be afraid to try new things!