Whatever Jordan Adilman does in his life, his love for Indigenous people is always at the forefront. Adilman is Métis and from Prince Albert, SK, and recently finished his master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan. He was doing SUNTEP, the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program.
Adilman says when he joined SUNTEP he really took that as an opportunity to learn more about his Métis culture in depth.
“Me being a Métis man but also white passing, growing up in PA I knew my Métis background. I knew different things connected to it, but I didn’t really understand it fully,” said Adilman.
In his first year, he went to a Métis education forum and met “a whole bunch of people” and says it was really an eye opener for him and he had lots of teachers there for him to pull from.
For the first couple years Adilman says he was shy, and then when his third year hit he says he ‘got a fire inside’ that he needed to lead. So he went for the SUNTEP student presidency of their student council and became the student president.
Adilman has also had the opportunity to travel and study throughout his education, going to places like Helsinki, Finland and doing a cultural exchange with Indigenous students to China. He’s also had the opportunity to work on his master’s in Ireland about the colonization there and how it affected their school systems.
But Adilman credits one of his mentors Dawn Wallin to get him thinking about doing his master’s.
“I was really focused on ed foundations, but she’s like, ‘What about doing ed admin?’ So looking at leadership, but through an Indigenous perspective. Because we have a lot of indigenous leaders, but within colonial systems,” said Adilman.
While testing the waters of his master’s, Adilman took a class in Egg Lake, MB, with Wallin and Sherry Peden, one of Wallin’s graduate students.
Adilman says Peden started off this program in Winnipeg that looked at the different historical places within the city, but decided they needed to go on the land instead and started the Ogoni Walk.
“That one class, I told her, we had elders from Cross Lake, we had elders from all across the North in Manitoba. I learned more in that one week than I did in my whole undergrad and my first couple of classes in my master’s,” said Adilman.
But his education journey wasn’t always an easy one, and he had to face some obstacles along the way.
Some of them have been dealing with lateral violence and learning more about his Cree culture and stumbling and falling along the way.
“You’re going to have to feel uncomfortable, you’re going to have to mess up to actually really learn what the lessons that’s being thrown at you. And definitely I learned a lot of lessons in my undergrad, but it opened me up into my graduate studies,” said Adilman.
And for students thinking of leaving their community for school or a career, Adilman says Indigenous people are needed in every sector, whether that is the trades or a career in academia.
“We need Indigenous. I want to see Indigenous faces in every sector of the workforce. But it’s definitely a scary thing to go to school and stuff, but also you’re gaining knowledge. You’re gaining things that will not only help you but your community,” said Adilman.
He also says he knows a lot of people who have moved back to their community after a stint in school and gave back to the community the knowledge that was gained.
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
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