2022 FNTI GRADUATE
Program: Social Service Worker
Name/Spirit Name: Erika
Teachings & Future Goals: Shé:kon! My name is Erika, I am bear clan, and creation knows me as Moon Flower. My mother’s family is from Tyendinega Mohawk Territory, and I am of Ukrainian descent on my father’s side. Both of my parents served in the Canadian Military, and I was able to leave footprints in many lands before settling as a visitor on the unceded ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe Algonquin in Smiths Falls eight years ago. I am the very proud mother of a 16-year-old daughter.
I have always been a very spiritual person but due to colonization, my life has taken a long, winding path to bring me to where I am today. There were times in my life when I was a Witch, others when I dedicated myself to following the Goddesses. Through all my phases some things remained constant. I have always felt a deep, reciprocal bond with all the elements of nature, have been attuned to an expansive cosmic vibration, and have an empathetic connection with all living things.
After a long career in customer service, I was motivated to explore opportunities for education and a more meaningful way to give back to my community. I enrolled in the Social Service Worker Diploma program at First Nations Technical Institute. The experience has been exceptional.
I believe there may be other Indigenous people who feel the same sense of disconnection that I felt for a great part of my life. What has had the most profound effect on me during my journey with FNTI has been learning traditional stories and cultural practices, developing critical and relational thinking skills and acknowledging that, to make the world a better place, I must start with myself.
I plan to continue my education with FNTI. Meanwhile, I have become involved with a few organizations that I am passionate about. I am volunteering as a restorative justice forum facilitator with Lanark County Community Justice and its court diversion program. I have become a member of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Council of Canadians to actively support important economic, social, and environmental issues. I have added my support to a major political party and joined the executive of Leeds- Grenville, Thousand Islands, and Rideau Lakes Electoral District Association as a member at large.
I hope to return to FNTI next term to begin MHA.