Stan Wesley: Leadership

Today, I attended the first day of the UCCM True Roots Youth Gathering. It was a great experience today. Tomorrow. I think know it will be the same. The youth are great. I love hearing about their educational goals and dreams.

There was also others to learn from today as well. Elders. Chiefs. Leaders. Professionals.

One thing I learned today was that “Leadership” can be learned. Yes, that’s right. Nobody is “born” a leader… Okay, maybe some people are “born-natural” leaders. But what about those people that became/become leaders who were not always born as “leader material.”

The host of the youth gathering, Stan Wesley, said today to the group that anyone can learn to be a leader.

It dawned on me that I was one of those people that learned to be a leader. I never used to be out-spoken. I was the shy, quiet girl that sat near the back of the classroom. Rarely raised my hand to answer questions in class. One teacher in Grade 11 science class even took it to the next level when I raised my hand to answer a question in class one day. I remember this day clearly because the teacher stood at the front of the classroom. Dropped his chalk. Dropped his jaw. Looked at me and said,

YOU talk!?

After that day I was even more afraid to put my hand up in class. I was in a mostly-white mostly-non-native advanced level science class. In other words, I was the only Native in this advanced level science class. I didn’t let that teacher’s reaction get to me. I continued to go to class. Mind you I continued to rarely answer questions in class. I still went. I ended up graduating from high school with the “Cultural Award” for achieving academic achievement and being involved in extra-curricular activities. Even after a car-accident where I was put back a year. Had to study harder and learn differently because of my acquired brain injury (I was in the hospital for a month, on a breathing ventilator and in a coma for 7 days, had double vision for 6 months and suffered from memory loss and today still suffer from hearing/vision loss/migraines).

The important thing here is that I didn’t let one person’s reaction get to me. I didn’t let people continue to think I had no voice. I learned the importance of education, and that is TO LEAD!

Because even though I could rarely raise my hand in class to answer questions, tomorrow I will stand in front of youth, elders, leaders, chiefs, professionals, and my peers… and lead them and guide them to inspire them and influence them on the importance of education and culture. Not just for myself, but for our entire nation!

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