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Hailey Seymour

September 2023

Hailey Seymour photo

  • Home Community:
    Matheson Island
  • Cultural Identity:
    Cree from Fisher River Cree Nation
  • Current Position:
    Grade 7/8 Teacher at Black River Anishinaabe School within Frontier School Division.
  • Education/Training:
    Bachelor of Arts degree in Native Studies and Sociology
    Bachelor of Education degree.
  • Roles/Responsibilities:
    Sharing knowledge, planning for lessons, engaging students in curricula and learning goals, and building positive relationships with all students and staff

“Always remember you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
I grew up in Matheson Island, Manitoba, a small community about 300 kms north of Winnipeg. The school only went up to grade 9 so I had to move further south to finish high school. I went into a home-placement program that the division offered, and experienced a state of culture shock instantly. I moved away from my family and friends and went from a school of 20 students to a school of over 300. It took me a long time to adjust to my new life and get rid of my new school anxiety, but I powered through it and graduated on the honour roll and earned a certificate in cosmetology.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
There are two people who really inspired me to go into the profession I am in now. The first person was my late university sociology professor Mary-Ann Kandrack who was a natural story-teller and had a heart of gold. She was a truly inspiring woman who encouraged all her students to gather knowledge from many resources and use their critical thinking skills to find and use their voice. The second person to inspire me was my daughter, Emery. Once I became a mother, I took 2 years off before going back to finish my B.Ed. During that time I thought a lot about our future. I wanted her to grow up learning about her culture and identity and the best way I could contribute to that is through education. Now I try to take every opportunity I can to use my voice in order to teach Indigenous perspectives both at home and in my classroom.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
I graduated with my first degree when I was 7 months pregnant by taking the maximum course load in order to finish on time. I knew I had to be there for the first few years of my child’s life as my partner worked away and I lived far from family. After I arranged childcare, I decided to go back to complete my goal of becoming an educator. I applied and was accepted into the Bachelor of Education program. However, despite being successful achieving my B.A degree I was denied funding from my band. I had no choice but to apply again the following year or find another way. I made the difficult choice to continue despite this financial hurdle, and applied for multiple student loans and worked during the evenings and weekends to pay for my education. There were many long nights, but I am proud of where my hard work has taken me. I graduated with my Bachelor of Education degree in 2022, and I am now doing what I love for a living.

Message of Encouragement:
Always remember you can achieve anything you put your mind to.