Sitting Down with Pathways' Elder Advisor on the National Advisory Committee
Ningwakwe George from the Saugeen First Nation flew into Calgary to host a Train the Trainers workshop on January 25th and 26th, 2023. It was two busy days facilitating discussion on how to open the doors for program participants, and discovering what each of the participants bring to their respective facilitation roles. Ningwakwe kindly took time to sit down with us and answer a few questions:
My name is Ningwakwe George, and I have a number of titles with [the Pathways] project; I am an Elder Advisor on the National Advisory Committee. I do some regional facilitation, in my home community (Saugeen), which is one of the pilots for the (Pathways) project. And the work we did here over the last two days, I guess they would call me a facilitator.
I became involved with FESA actually about 20 years ago. We found that we were on the same the path about helping Indigenous people see to the skills and the strength that they had, and coaching them along the way to become the people they want to be. Everyone comes here with a gift, they just don’t realize it because of some of their life experiences. We just help them discover those gifts.
My desired goals are I just want people to realize they are very powerful, that they do have gifts, they just need to realize what they are, and we help them develop those gifts
My work entails a lot of things. I got involved in the National Advisory committee meetings, and lately, I’ve got a youth in my home community who is also going to be joining us on the National Advisory Committee, so I’m coaching her, I’m mentoring her, to step into that role, because she has some really good leadership skills and I think she can give us good advice on how to make this project the best it can be.
This workshop, for the past two days, has been about Skills for Success, which is a Federal Government framework, but I was showing the people here how we have those skills within us, the learners have them within them, they might be buried under several layers of things, but once we get them to realize that they have those skills, this opens doorways to them to recognize their others skills.
We had several stories from the workshop participants about—I guess reading in particular, one person had to learn to how to read through using specialized that were near and dear to her heart. She had trouble reading, but then when she found a medium for reading, something that really was very very special to her, about siritualism, about spiritual imagery, spiritual roles, she found she could read that without the stuttering and stammering that she did before, and now she’s developed the confidence to go onto read other things and help other people do that.
I'm excited to see people realizing the gifts that they have! What happened here over the last couple of days, just by sharing, we realized we’re all pretty much on the same page about helping people to discover their potential, their gifts, and put them to use at work, in the community, and in general.
Ningwakwe was able to host this train the facilitators training thanks to funding in part by the Government of Canada through the Sectoral Initiatives Program.