Anna Lambe

Anna Lambe is a talent on many different levels. Lambe, from Iqaluit, NU, but currently living in Ottawa, is a student, an actress, and an advocate for Indigenous rights — but says she is a “student first.”

She studies at the University of Ottawa as an international development and globalization student, which focuses a lot on developing countries and coming up with innovative ways to make them self sufficient, blossom, and grow sustainably.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping people, and it was the one program that stood out to me as something that I would want to do and something that I feel like I would feel fulfilled doing,” said Lambe.

Even though it’s an international development program, she doesn’t see herself going international but rather taking what she learns from the program and bringing it back to Nunavut.

“Even though we’re a part of Canada, which is a first world country, we’re often put on the back burner and you see in a lot of communities, people live in third world conditions,” said Lambe.

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Illustration by Kale Sheppard

She says she wants to help create a better territory in a way that’s culturally relevant and sustainable.

Lambe says the four-year program has an option to do co-op and that there have been students that have gotten job opportunities at the United Nations or with the government of Canada, but doesn’t feel it’s necessary for her.

“I’ve already had job opportunities with the government of Nunavut and there’s Inuit organizations that I would rather work with above all else,” said Lambe.

While studying she’s also dipped her toes into acting, starring as ‘Spring’ in The Grizzlies, which earned her a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She will also be starring in CBC’s new show Trickster, which will premiere in Fall 2020.

If there were anything she could tell students leaving their communities to pursue education or a career, it would be to not doubt your capabilities, don’t doubt the education you received, and don’t let people tell you you won’t succeed in university.

“People had told me that Nunavut’s education system, it’s not preparing you to go far in academic fields. Then I went to university and I realized I was doing really well,” said Lambe.

“[What] I was doing in those classes were things that I had done in my grade 12 year of high school. So it was kind of this moment of everything that I have been told about my education, about the standard, about what I’m capable of has just been wrong.”

Even though there is “quite a discrepancy” in education in the north, Lambe still urges people to not doubt themselves and that there are many opportunities.

“Every voice is unique and it’s important, and don’t think that your life experience is any less valuable and your voice is any less valuable,” said Lambe.

Though Lambe has been successful both as a student and actress, one of her biggest obstacles has been her mental health.

In her high school years, she says it was really hard finding a balance between taking care of herself and taking care of her education, calling it a very dark and difficult time.

Lambe says she is grateful for it at this point in her life, saying it made her a more stronger and resilient person but it’s also important for people to take care of themselves and their mental health.

“If you don’t have a strong mental and emotional foundation for yourself, taking care of yourself, that it’s so incredibly difficult to excel and thrive in an academic setting. So that’s definitely something that I struggled with. That’s something that took years and years and years to overcome.”

And when it comes to what inspires her work, it’s not so much of an inspiration but an obligation.

“I’m learning whatever I can about my culture and language and where I come from, so that knowledge and that strength can be passed down to my children. It’s what motivates me to always be striving to do better and always striving to learn and progress in everything.”

Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.

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