Diane Roussin says keep moving forward because eventually you’ll get where you need to be.
Diane Roussin remembers a time when she felt completely out of place. She moved to Winnipeg to attend university but she didn’t even know what a major was. As an Anishinaabe woman in mainstream society she felt less than those around her. But she pressed forward and after two degrees and a wealth of knowledge from other Indigenous women she's the project director at The Winnipeg Boldness Project.
And she wants Indigenous youth to keep pressing forward.
“You will figure out what's right for you. You will figure out where you need to be. So just keep going. But you don't have to know all that ahead of time and no one can tell it to you anyways,” said Roussin.
She knows firsthand when you come from homes with family violence or alcoholism one can find themselves questioning why they are there or feeling like second class citizens. But Roussin says it makes more sense when one learns about colonialism and that many poor conditions are forced upon Indigenous communities.
And to this day those conditions still make her angry but she credits her heroes and other Indigenous women for helping her to be vulnerable and offering her support.
“They love and hug and dry your tears and just surround you with all that caring and love. Indigenous women just do so much for me. That is my go to, and that's how I get through a lot of tough stuff,” said Roussin.
From their advice she has three pieces of advice; 1) Keep a support system. 2) Lay down tobacco, remember Indigenous culture is important and 3) Keep things relative, things may be hard but there are those in the world suffering more.
Roussin says she went into social work because she always wanted to help people and after a practicum she knew she wanted to help integrate the field with Indigenous ways of knowing and caring.
“I feel like Indigenous knowledge systems totally know how to deal with all of what's going on right now and totally know how to get through tough situations,” said Roussin.
Thanks to Oscar Baker III for authoring this blog post.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.