Hello, I am Brook! I am currently the Indigenous advisor at COR and I have been a part of the COR Team for around 2 and a half years now! The first position I entered into COR was as home support, then moved into the role as the Indigenous Cultural Advisor part-time before taking the role full-time.
As the Indigenous advisor, my position has been created to help support individuals and their families to connect, reconnect, claim, reclaim and learn about Indigenous ways of life. I hope to create an open, caring and safe space that will help people navigate their journeys, as they either begin or continue to embrace walking in two worlds. It is a priority for me to help others see the world from an indigenous lens. A lens that can then be applied to the people we support, their homes and their worlds. I work directly with the people we support, their families and their teams to identify cultural curiosities, wants, needs and practices they would like to engage in. Some would like to attend Sweat Lodge, Powwows, Sundance, Round Dance and other traditional ceremonies/events. Others would like to receive their names, learn to bead or cook bannock, as well as a variety of other practices. A person has a better chance of learning and retaining cultural information when their teams and families are involved because they spend the most time with them. I am able to provide (or connect us to) all of the tools and teachings necessary for individuals who are awakening their spiritual connections. Ultimately the Indigenous Cultural Advisor position is an opportunity opening for people to find and develop a relationship with the creator and culture if they should want this. I both welcome and encourage you to connect with me directly for further information or for any questions you may have. Let’s meet and walk together with good intentions, in a good way.
I first heard of COR about 10 years ago or so from my Co-worker at that time, Mara. She told me a little bit about COR and really encouraged me to apply. She didn’t work for COR at that time, but she had relatives that did. She believed that I would be perfect for COR. We both experienced a transition in careers. At some point, Mara’s path led her to COR. A little over 7 years ago my little brother began to experience a breakdown in his support. COR was one of three options for possible new placements. I called Mara immediately out of panic and fear. Mara kept speaking the same words to me “I promise you, Jessica, if your brother comes here, he will be ok”. She had so much confidence and faith in her organization and rightfully so because she was right.
One of my favourite projects at COR to date has been the ribbon skirt-making workshop. I also really enjoyed the drum-making workshop that COR hosted. I didn’t organize this event and was very proud of COR for putting together this event. I am currently excited about our upcoming year. We have a couple of events in the works, such as Sweat Lodge, Round Dance and setting up CORs first Teepee.
My proudest moment with COR would be the Sacred Buffalo Harvest ceremony that Kirston, Miyseou and I attended. I was very emotional and proud to see our two girls participating and reclaiming their cultural ways. These ladies are probably the first generations in their families to reclaim these teachings since the massacre of the buffalo. They did it all from listening to stories/teachings shared, tying up hide, skinning hide and the actual breakdown of the buffalo. They were amazing! Additionally, I was also very proud of Ruby for wanting to enter the Sweat Lodge and receive her name. She absolutely loves Sweat Lodge and is so proud to have her name now.
If I had any advice to give to people who are interested in joining COR, I would advise people to be their genuine and authentic selves. The culture that COR has created here is welcoming, unique and it’s safe. A lot of places and much of our society has created fear of punishment when making mistakes. Here mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. We hope everyone here feels supported and comfortable to ask for help. Ask questions, wonder why, and offer your knowledge/wisdom. Most importantly when and if you do come across challenging times, remember your reason(s) why you wanted to come into this helping and supportive field of service. There will always be a move that connects us then there is that divides us.
Fun Facts about me:
I own exactly 4 actual paper books. 3 of them gifts. The other I purchased and continue to purchase it because it seems it always grows legs. It’s called “In Search of April Raintree”. I read a version of it in high school and then read the adult version shortly after. It’s a book that I strongly relate to and has helped me through some trying times.
I have two favourite quotes:
“Yeah, but the Indian blood runs through your veins, April. To deny that, you deny a basic part of yourself. You’ll never be satisfied until you can accept that fact” – April Raintree
There was a time that I hated and denied being indigenous. There was a time when I use to be prejudiced and hard on my own people.
“Forgiveness is abandoning all hope for a better past” – Matriarch Brenda Dubois
I know this quote seems heavy and that there are lighter ways of saying the same thing, such as “forgiveness is focusing on the future and not dwelling on the past”. But hearing the way Brenda put it helped something click for me.
I spend my free time with my two cats Spirit and Kuppa. I also spend time with my family and I really enjoy beading.