Ni’noxsola – JoAnn Restoule
Dokis First Nation , Anishnabe – Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
I am a member of the Dokis First Nation, of the Anishnabe people. The Anishnabe people are located throughout areas of the Great Lakes both in Canada and the United States. My family crests are the Eagle,“Migisi” and the Muskrat, “Wajask”. As an Anishnabe Kwe-woman, mother and grandmother I have looked for ways and means to celebrate my cultural heritage. Culture, spirituality, art, theatre, song and dance have played a large role in my life. Through these mediums I have found ways to explore, learn and teach the rich cultural history of the ancestors of this country.
As a young woman I had the opportunity to spend time with Elders and mentors from across North America and other parts of the world. I pursued a deeper understanding of the impact of Canada’s policy of assimilation by obtaining a degree in Criminology and Corrections then working at the Canadian National level with the Assembly of First Nations and the National Native Women’s Association. Through my work in Addictions, Corrections, Health, Education, Economic Development, Youth Programs and developing awareness and understanding of culture and spiritual practice, I was able to grasp the degree to which we, as First Nations people had lost our sense of place and identity. How the traditional ways of being and cultural practices could bring this strength and identity back into being.
The experiences and the expertise I have gained from cultures around the world have taught me the value of a sense of place and belonging. Culture, spirituality, family and community are to me the pillars of life. Opportunities to create these connections in a meaningful way are first and foremost in all aspects of my life and my work. I am the mother of 3 children and also a grandmother, “Kokum”. I make my home in the Comox Valley where I have lived for over 30 years.
I have most recently retired from my post within the school system as a Youth and Family Program Worker. In this role I enjoyed the time spent meeting with young people, exchanging thoughts and ideas and creating opportunities to build awareness and connections.