My name is Zoey and I was born in Winnipeg in 2004. A couple of months after I was born my dad, mom, older sister and I moved up north to Thompson where I spent the next six years growing up. Afterwards, my dad, sister and I moved to Selkirk where I remained for the next 10 years until we moved back to Winnipeg. All these places I have lived in were all just houses. My home is Peguis First Nation.
A teaching I remember from an elder was the story we were told about animals and how they are living things as well; not something you can hurt and kill whenever desired. The story stood out to me because it showed me everything is alive and now I'm afraid to even step on an ant.
My favourite place we visited is the shelter on top of the hill in Assiniboine Forest. It's beautiful and calming. The nature was a sight for sore eyes and the deer we saw definitely made it even better. Both times we went for walks there, no one had to ask to go there; it was simply a given.
A time I felt connected to the land was when we were walking through sage and Knowledge Keeper Sara McIvor-Prouty told us about how to properly pick sage and how to give back. I picked a couple pieces of sage and gave tobacco back as a thank you. It was a great experience I hope to do again.
Something I would like people to know about me is that I read a lot. I can pick up a book and read it for hours at a time and finish it without ever putting it down. Reading is an escape from reality in the best way possible. When I read I can create a movie in my head with the words I see on the page. It is very much a satisfaction I'm grateful to have.
For fun I love to hang out with my friends from Selkirk and have bonfires or drive around blasting music and singing at the top of our lungs. I enjoy watching films and rating them as a film critic would do and of course I love to read.
I am most proud of my Nana Charmaine. She was in day school as a kid and overcame the trauma from that. She lost her mom and her dad who we all loved greatly. She lost some of her siblings who left this earth too early. But after everything she has been through, she strives everyday and helps everyone with anything. She loves with passion and is patient with the people who push her limits (me) but never gives up on them. I am beyond proud of her and hope I will even be a fraction of how strong she is.
Next for me is senior year, graduating, and getting into The University Of North Dakota to study education and become a teacher. I would hope to maybe get things published in the near future and make new friends at school since I transferred last semester. I hope to graduate and make my family proud.
Two poems written by Zoey:
The land of the living skies
The painted skies dance around us
Telling us stories
With her ever changing colors
Bouncing off the silent snow,
The land of the living skies
Is where I am from
We stand and stare
As jaws drop
And the lights take over our sight
We see beauty.
The tethered sorrow that soon became happiness
After all the shattered heart
And the million miles I have waited,
I felt the smile
From within the brokenness,
That i have been waiting for,
It happens to the best of us
But i redefined it
The way I have been living for,
The tethered sorrow
Fled from within
And I could feel it,
The peace in knowing
Happiness comes over you
And life is good
And you want more of it.
The Indigenous Youth Storytelling program is supported by The Conservation Trust through Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation.