I was born and raised in Winnipeg, which is where I call home. I am an Anishinaabe woman with family and community connections to Dauphin River First Nation, which is located in the Interlake region of Manitoba about four hours northeast of Winnipeg. I was not raised in my home community; however, I do have connections to Chief and Council and all my relations in Dauphin River.
I am an educator. I graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s degree in Education (1987) and a Master’s degree in Education (2014). My expertise is in inner city education and Indigenous education. I have spent my career working in inner city schools in Winnipeg, working for the Department of Education as a consultant and later as Director of Indigenous Education, a position that I have held since 2006.
I am a wife and mother of two sons, Craig and Kevin. My son Kevin has lived with kidney disease since he was 10 years old. He was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome and has been under the care of nephrologists since he was 11 years old. He has had various interventions until his kidneys failed in June 2010. He required a kidney transplant and used peritoneal dialysis in the interim until his kidney transplant in October 2012. His older brother Craig donated a kidney.
I am pleased to be involved with Can-SOLVE CKD, as I have been a patient supporter for Kevin since he was diagnosed with CKD as a child and living with the disease until his kidney transplant. I was introduced to Can-SOLVE CKD by Cathy Woods, and both Kevin and I were interested because we can share our experiences living with the disease. I feel I can offer advice and recommendations as CKD is an epidemic in First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. I feel that my experiences as a caregiver can be shared with researchers, policy makers, and medical staff working with CKD. I look forward to learning at the workshops and hearing about the advances and the research strategies for CKD.