When Elicia Munro-Sutherland puts her mind on something, it’s very rare she doesn’t see it through. Munro-Sutherland is a Nehiyaw Anishinaabe Métis woman from Treaty 6 Territory, but was born and spent the majority of her life in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
She is a recent graduate of social work and certificate of reconciliation studies, both from the First Nations University of Canada. On top of this, she also owns a photography and videography business while being a mom of two daughters.
Her motivation for her career path started out with what she says is the love for her people.
“I see the beauty and power in my people’s resilience, personal stories, and their way of life. It truly inspires me and I feel this is where I’m meant to be,” said Munro-Sutherland.
While she recently graduated from the First Nations University of Canada, Munro-Sutherland says her biggest dream was to attend a film school but was hesitant because of her two daughters.
“I felt I needed to have something to fall back on and where I can use this in my future to assist me in my career in everyday life and helping others and sharing stories with my people,” said Munro-Sutherland.
But of course getting to where she is now wasn’t an easy feat and went through some obstacles along the way.
For Munro-Sutherland, the biggest obstacles were the struggle of identity and addictions. She says in her early life, she went through hardships and was trying to figure out how to ‘walk in two worlds’ and balance them both.
She says she overcame this by becoming sober, and will be sober seven years later this year. Motherhood also had a huge impact on her.
“[Motherhood] changed my perspective greatly. It’s when I decided to finally live my truth and be my authentic self that I start to live the life I’ve always dreamed of living,” said Munro-Sutherland.
She says that's when she decided to face her demons and started to find “true healing” from within, and by doing that she broke the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
“Making the decision that the negative cycles of abuse that I knew as a child would end with me. I feel as a mother, it is my responsibility to give my daughters the life that they deserve and also to be a good role model for my people, Indigenous youth all over the next generations to come,” said Munro-Sutherland.
As for advice for people thinking of leaving their community for post-secondary or a career, Munro-Sutherland says to not be afraid of changes and to make sure to build a support system.
She also says take advantage of the resources and programming that’s there “for you to succeed,” and to get involved in the community and start making connections.
“I feel like everyone has a purpose. Everyone is worthy and also you’re meant to do great things inside this world,” said Munro-Sutherland.
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay 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.