WIKWEMIKONG—Students at the Wikwemikong High School took part in the ‘Finding Your Path’ career fair on Wednesday, February 15.
The fair began with a keynote address by Captain Sabrina Manitowabi a 31 year-old airline captain for Air Creebec Inc. Captain Manitowabi maintains strong links to her cultural heritage even as she plies her trade among the clouds. “I’m a traditional jingle dress dancer and I continue my traditional ways of hunting, fishing, harvesting berries, vegetables and making maple syrup,” she notes in her bio. In addition to her traditional pastimes, the airline pilot enjoys playing and teaching piano as well as painting and staying in shape through mixed martial arts, taking Fong Wei Do, Mauy Thai and Jiu-jitsu. She also enjoys yoga. “My goal is to be an inspiration to everyone around me,” she said.
Following the keynote, students had an opportunity to peruse the many career booths that filled the arena before heading out to the first period workshops.
The first series included topics such as ‘Language Revitalization with the Use of Modern Technology’ with Brian Peltier of the Wikwemikong Heritage Organization, ‘Internet Killed Television’ with Nimkeehns Wemigwans, freelance AV technician; ‘Learning to Fly’ with Cpt. Sabrina Manitowabi; ‘Introduction to Policing’ with Special Constable Alanna Eshkawkogan; ‘Let’s Build You Up’ with Jonathan Nolan, of Sault College; ‘Adventure Time with Canada World Youth’ with Danielle Recollet-Saikkonen and ‘The Importance and Benefits of Band Membership’ with Jean Oshkabewisens.
Workshop presentations were also going on in the cafeteria, such as ‘Conscious Human Adaption for Natural Growth and Empowerment’ with Warren Lewis.
The second set of workshops included ‘Writing Can Be an Interesting Career’ with The Expositor’s Mike Erskine; ‘Finding Your Career Path’ with Roxanne Recollet of Nadmadwin Wellness Centre; ‘Fish Identification and Assessments’ with Heidi Manitowabi of Anishinabek-Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre; ‘Plumbing and Heating as a Career’ with Barry Cooper; ‘Agriculture: Careers that Grow’ with Leslee Salo of AgScape; and ‘Addictions Prevention’ with Terry and Matt of the Nwaagan Gamig Recovery Centre.
“It was a great experience,” said Expositor scribe Mike Erskine of his turn at the front of the class. “The students were engaged and asked questions about writing. The students had a wide range of interests, some were looking to write traditional novels, while others are already engaged in creative projects such as their own manga-style graphic novels. It really made me feel positive about the future of writing in Wikwemikong.”
Mr. Erskine recalled discussions with his friend, the late Tom Peltier, an author whose book ‘Bearwalker’ was one of the first Canadian best sellers written by an Anishinabe writer. “Tom would have been really proud to see how much interest there is in our craft among the youth of his community,” said Mr. Erskine. “Tom was a great believer in the arts as a positive career path for Anishinabe youth, he devoted a great deal of his life to promoting it.”