FORT WILLIAM FIRST NATION – My name is Jacob Mckay. I am a candidate for Councillor in the upcoming FWFN Chief and Council elections.
To begin, regardless of the results on election day, this was my first experience running for Councillor and I have learned a lot, both of myself and my community. I want to extend a warm thank you to all those candidates and community members that have shown me support during the campaign process and have guided me in this initial step towards being an effective, informed leader for FWFN.
Fort William First Nation Election
I am grateful for your help and the teachings that you have all graciously offered me during this time. Chi-Miigwetch.
Come this June 2013 I will be an honors graduate from the University of Toronto with a Double Major in Anthropology and Aboriginal Studies. I have expert knowledge on a wide range of topics both relating to Indigenous peoples in particular, and within wider subjects such as economics, politics, philosophy, and social health. Being able to critically engage with concerns in these many areas allows me to make well-informed decisions on behalf of FWFN.
Furthermore, my prior class and field experience both at the University of Toronto, and the University of Manitoba has provided me with excellent knowledge of post-secondary life. Its rewards. Its challenges. Those things to be aware of before and while attending college or university that will surely benefit our younger members of FWFN. Whether elected or not, I plan to initiate a peer-mentoring program for those members that have post-secondary experience to share what they know with the youth of our community. I feel like this program could better prepare students for their journey into what is certainly a stressful and challenging time in their lives. Given such an extensive academic background, I feel like I have a lot to offer the education department of FWFN. Iʼve experienced the policies and direction of our education system and thus could provide tremendous feedback both on things that have worked well in the past and that which could be improved now and into the future.
What motivates my thirst for knowledge and teachings is my commitment to Biimaadzwin, or the “good life”. Always directing myself towards the Seven Grandfather teachings has enriched my life with the Aniishinabe ideals of our people. It has provided an identity for a young man that was raised off-reserve, and did not have the strongest connection to his culture growing up. The philosophy that surrounds Biimaadzwin teaches us fundamental ways of interacting with every relation, human or not. This Anishiinabe way of life need to be revitalized within our current political and social frameworks. I feel this will go a long way in reforming the basis for our nation-to-nation, person-to-person rebuilding of relationships. To promote the teaching of the Anishiinabe within our community, I propose that a ʻMideʼ lodge be constructed to welcome back those traditions. The project would 100% be community-led, and will serve to restore those Anishiinabe and Midewiwin principles that were stolen and stigmatized in the past.
Being a young adult member of FWFN I feel that I reflect a ʻyouthfulʼ voice in our community. I can relate to many young members in many ways. Not just in education, but also in sports; employment; identity, relationship, and addiction issues; poetry; arts;
the outdoors; ʻtraditionalʼ teachings and community involvement. This stems from actively being a well-rounded individual my entire life. Not just because I enjoy the challenge of new things, but mostly because I see myself in every other person and so their motivations tend to be reflected in my own. I see the good in people, that which motivates them, moves them, engages with who they are as individuals, as members of a family, a community, and larger society and that is what I connect with. I pay attention to all those relationships and try to bring out the best in each person that I know.
Chi-Miigwetch for your time in reading this short description. I hope it provided a more clear understanding of who I am, what my intentions are, and what I have to offer to FWFN. Being nominated to represent my community has been a transforming experience for me. The recognition that I have something to offer my community is far more humbling that one can imagine. I feel like a better person because of this journey.
Regardless if I received your vote or not, Chi-Miigwetch for that FWFN.