Waabshkaa mkwa (Whitebear)

KBE Regional Community Coordinator (Southwestern Ontario)
Toronto, ON - Territory of the Huron-Wendat, Seneca and Mississaugas of the Credit

My traditional name is Waabshkaa mkwa and translated to English this means Whitebear. I am a member of the Bear Clan Dodem of the Ojibwe Nation from Benayshee Awasisin/Fort William First Nations which is located outside Thunder Bay, Ontario. I have been learning Anishnaabemowin my Ojibwe Language for the last several years and recently, I have developed a deep sense of understanding through these language classes that “our language is in the voice of the land.” Also, I have been working with several Cultural Teachers and Sweat lodge Conductors to learn; our traditional ways of healing; about medicinal plants; and community ceremonies to help me live Mino Bimaadiziwin/the good life; spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I have been volunteering for the last (19) years at ALS/Aboriginal Legal Services to incorporate our cultural ways into the Community Council Program, to assist our clients or community members to find their way through the legal system in a Restorative Justice Process. I been living a clean and sober life for over (40) years, and I have utilized this lived experience to help those who are seeking personal support to create or navigate; addiction-related services detoxication and treatment options; and community harm reduction programs and resources to assist them to create their own personal lifestyle changes. I have worked in the following areas of community development, designing culture-based employment training programs and developing other harm reduction community-based peer-driven initiatives and most recent I was employed as a crisis response specialist. I’m very happy to join the KBE/Kairos Blanket Exercise team and I look forward to meeting and working with the KAIROS communities. Miigwech