Carlie Kane

What Creator Wanted: Carlie Kane Finds Where She’s Meant to be in her Legal Career Journey

“I am meant to be here. This is my journey. Whatever brought me here, I am meant to be here. That's what Creator wanted. That's why I'm here,” says Carlie Kane. She is a member of Lac Seul First Nation and a second year law student at Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba. Outside of school, she works with Full Circle for Indigenous Education, an organization that promotes and provides awareness to students, teachers, and the general public about Indigenous education.

While she’s in school, she’s still doing their social media and administrative work and the organization is going to be adding a project coordinator to the mix. The work is growing and Kane can’t do it all while also going to school, so more hands will make things easier. She recently coordinated a powwow in her role, something she hadn’t done before, to honour Indigenous educators.

After Kane graduated in 2010, she went straight to university, only to find it wasn’t for her. With a couple failing grades on her transcript, she vowed never to return to university. She went to college and became a legal assistant, a job she did for a few years. She decided she wanted more and went back to university to give it another try. Kane pushed past her initial aversion to university life and her promise to herself not to go back and ended up glad she did.

When she was working as a legal assistant, she was really aware that she was still young and wanted more out of her career. There were limits to what she could do as a legal assistant, even though it’s a job she thinks is really great. After researching what she had to do to move forward and become a lawyer, she found she had to complete an undergraduate degree first. She did that and kept pushing past every barrier in her path to reach her goal of being admitted to law school. Her undergraduate degree was in Indigenous Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies, a writing-heavy degree that prepared her for law school. 

“You can still overcome those barriers or obstacles. They're meant to be overcome.”

While she’s happy to be there, the workload in law school and the sheer volume of assignments and expectations can be overwhelming. On top of the academic requirements, there is a need to network and attend parties and gatherings. She encourages aspiring law students not to feel like they have to go to every event and to take care of themselves like she does.

Taking care of herself looks like listening to her body, not attending things when she’s feeling too stressed or anxious and not putting herself through things that would be too much for her mind, body, spirit and soul. She takes time out to relax and watch Netflix instead. She’s learned along her journey to trust the process, even when she wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out.

Illustration by Shaikara David

On a typical day, she enjoys the flexibility of remote work. She wakes up in the morning, does a grounding practice of either watching her favourite show or listening to some good music. She checks her email and calendar, plans her day, works on assignments and creates social media posts for her job. To refresh her mind through the day, she takes breaks and she relies on her calendar to keep her on track. 

Her advice for a high school student who is trying to figure out what they want to do next is to talk to someone in the profession they’re considering. She encourages youth to get curious and ask questions. Kane also suggests researching Indigenous representation in that field. She did that when considering law and she finds it very motivating to know representation is growing and she is a part of it.

What she would love to say to youth is, “Trust the process because whatever you decide to do, one way or another, if you keep your eye on the prize and you set your mind to that goal, you'll get there. You're just gonna go through obstacles, and that's fine. But don't let those stop you.”

To overcome obstacles, she drew on her sense of self, knowing that she’s intelligent, smart, capable and she could succeed. She didn’t let her initial poor grades stop her and relied on what she could feel deep in her heart, that she was doing what she was supposed to do. Kane encourages youth not to get discouraged if they don’t get the marks they wish they had, to see it as just another obstacle and to keep going.

As she looks to the future, she hopes to move to BC with her partner and her cats. Kane believes there are more opportunities and that it’s a beautiful place to live, as much as she loves Manitoba. She yearns for the oceans and the mountains and feels them calling her back.

In closing, she hopes youth will hear her words of encouragement, urging them onwards.” Just keep your eye on the prize. Stay persistent and keep going. Trust the process because you will get anywhere you want to go. There's no limits,” she beams.

Carlie Kane knows she is meant to be here on her journey and that whatever brought her here, it’s where she’s meant to be. She believes this is what the Creator wanted and that is why she’s here, going to school to become a lawyer and working to promote and educate about Indigenous education. She’s listening to her body, to her heart and to her purpose and showing the world that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and keep moving forward.

Thanks to Ailson Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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