Dwight Snowshoe

Moving Forward with Kinesiology: Dwight Snowshoe is an Educator Making Career Moves

 “A lot of times I wanted to quit, but when you have kids, they're your motivators and I kept pushing on,” recounts Dwight Snowshoe, who is originally from Fort McPherson in the Northwest Territories but moved to Whitehorse more than a decade ago. He’s a father of teens who got his Bachelor of Education in 2017 and has worked in the education field ever since. Within the justice system, Snowshoe provided transitional support for incarcerated Indigenous people, helping them make the move out to community into the workforce or back to school. For a couple years, he worked with the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate and now he works in education with Kwanlin Dun First Nation. 

His interest in education was sparked after substitute teaching in Fort McPherson and he went onto take the Yukon Native Teacher Education Program. “Education's very important. It does play a crucial role in a lot of people's lives,” he explains. Now that he’s spent some time in education, he’s seeing his career path start to shift towards wellness, health and fitness, something he’s truly passionate about.  

He’s contemplating a career change and he has advice for Indigenous students looking for a change in geography in leaving their home community and that’s about not feeling stuck. Snowshoe urges them to go and experience things knowing that there are options available and you don’t have to stay in your home community forever. “By doing that, I feel like you'll value your community a lot more just because you'll kind of get a different perspective in just living away from home. At the same time, too, it's good to just gain experience. Don't be scared to take risks in life.”

The other message he wants to share with Indigenous youth is that if they choose a career path, they can still choose something else if their interests change. That’s what he’s doing as the Indigenous Sports Recreation Graduate Certificate program, a fast-paced, 11-month program he’s balancing alongside his family responsibilities and his full-time work. It’s a lot to manage, but he can see how it will help him and the Indigenous people he serves in the future. Snowshoe hopes to bring awareness about how chronic conditions can be prevented and wellness improved with all that he is learning. 

Along the way, Snowshoe has faced many obstacles, raising daughters at a young age and on a budget, struggling with food security and poverty. Teaching self-defence workshops helped refill his family’s bank account and get them through the summer during a particularly hard time when they didn’t even have money to buy breakfast. Having his education helped him overcome life challenges and he’s hoping to get a Master’s in Kinesiology next so he can make a difference for Indigenous people in a new way. 

Illustration by Shaikara David

If he could give a message to his younger self it would be, “We're always gonna go through some tough times and good times in life. Those tough times are just temporary times and by getting through those tough times, you're going to develop resiliency, and you're going to be able to use that to overcome other certain obstacles that come your way… I’ve been through a lot. I try to take everything that I’ve been through as a lesson in life… It's always good to work on yourself and reevaluate yourself at times. As people, we grow on. You're always gonna have to readjust. Stay motivated, keep yourself busy and have a sense of balance in life.”

To balance his well being and mental health, Snowshoe recommends having a structure and routine to stick to. He tries to stay fit, goes to the gym and having a routine helps him prioritize fitness when he’s busy with work, school and family. He tries to give himself a break sometimes from his academics, taking walks and breaking up his study sessions so he doesn’t run himself ragged. As far as his spare time, he tries to use it to better himself and blow off steam, spending time with friends or going to counselling. He spends time in self-reflection to identify growth opportunities and how he can become the person he wants to be. 

While his children have always been a strong source of motivation, making an impact for Indigenous people drives him, too. “What motivates me is knowing what I'm learning, what I'm gonna be bringing to the table to just focus on Indigenous people and reclaiming our cultural identity and our health and just that reconciliation piece. I want people to begin to value themselves and begin to show that they matter in life and just show how much of a difference physical activity can do to your life as well in terms of just being an overall better version of yourself. Indigenous people are my motivators right now,” Snowshoe shares. 

“Indigenous people are my motivators right now.”

In closing, Snowshoe offers advice to help choose a career. What he wants youth to know is that money isn’t everything when it comes to picking a job, that pursuing something you are interested in is important, too. “I'm not too worried about money right now. It's more just bringing my message and sharing with others. That's my passion and that's something I feel happy to do,” he elaborates. What he’s learned over time is that chasing money and working can get boring if you aren’t doing something you enjoy. He also knows money can bring its own stress too. In the end, he says, “Have a sense of budget and pursue what you what you want to pursue in terms of your passion.”

While there have been many times Dwight Snowshoe wanted to quit, he kept pushing on with his kids as his motivators. Building on a foundation of education, he’s hoping to teach his people how to take good care of themselves, to connect with who they are and overcome the health challenges they face. He’s learned that when it comes to a career, he’s not stuck, and as he pursues graduate studies in Kinesiology, he continues to move forward while learning to help people move their bodies more often.

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
    ,
    ,
  • Province/Territory
    Northwest Territories
  • Date
    March 5, 2024
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