Minnie McKenzie


tānisi kahkithaw kīthawāw nitōtīmak. nimithwīthihtīn iyatoskātamān nīhithowīwin mīna nīhithaw pimācihowin. nohkomipan, nimosōmipan mīna ninīkihikwak kā-kī-āsōnamawicik nipīkiskwīwin.

Hi, greetings to all my friends and colleagues. I am very fortunate and happy to work as a Cree Curriculum Developer and Site-Coordinator for The Gift of Language and Culture Project. My first language, Woodland Cree, was passed on to me by my late grandparents Daniel and Betsy McKenzie and my late parents John and Betsy (nee McLeod) McKenzie. I am the youngest female out of eleven children. Three of my siblings have passed on. My other siblings with their own families reside in Stanley Mission. My passion to carry on my language and cultural skills and knowledge stems from my upbringing, family, colleagues, students and the many people I have come to know and respect over the years in education.

I had many good teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12, who inspired me to continue my education and to be proud to be a nīhithaw.

In 1989, I was accepted as a student at NORPAC/NORTEP in La Ronge. I worked diligently for four years as a university student and student-teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree in 1993. My first teaching assignment was for the Provincial Education System, I worked as a Cree Language and Culture Instructor at Pre-Cam Elementary School in La Ronge. I was always busy, teaching, creating teaching resources, planning, evaluating and all that work that goes with being a classroom teacher.

Since then, I have worked as a Woodland Cree Materials Developer for the Aboriginal Languages Project operated by Northern Lights School Division No. 113. I also worked as a regular classroom teacher for grades one and two, and the Cree Program for Chief Moses Ratt School in Sucker River.

In 1999, I was hired as a Cree Language and Culture Consultant for Lac La Ronge Indian Band Education Branch. I am still working for the same department and thoroughly enjoy my job. My job title changed this year because of the increased number of staff. My job as a Site-Coordinator includes supervising a staff of twelve people. Some of my responsibilities are to ensure that reporting is done, to organize staff and curriculum team meetings, to report to the Project Coordinator, to create and develop teaching resources, to ensure that the budget is balanced, to recruit staff, to attend meetings with other organizations who work in the same field and other office duties.

I am fortunate to work with hard working staff. They are committed to the project and have a similar vision as I do and that is to promote, revive and maintain First Nation Languages and Cultures.

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ikosi pitamā