Role models are difference makers
- NC Raine | November 17, 2018
Role models are difference makers. As such, Eagle Feather News spoke with leaders from around Saskatchewan – athletes, politicians, activists, and musicians – to hear who made the biggest difference in their lives. Here’s five role models on their role models:
(responses edited for space and clarity)
Donny Parenteau – Singer-songwriter
Role model number one, first and foremost, are my parents Wilbur and Hazel. These are the people who shaped me into who I’ve become. They taught me what respect means. To live my life with that word. Something that I strongly believe is missing today. Respect your elders. Respect yourself for who you are. Love yourself for who you are. Because if you don’t have that in your life, how are you going to respect anything else around you? (...) Is there one role model? No, I’ve had lots. A role model is someone who can help you get to the next level. You might have lots in your life, you might have just one. But they’re the ones who reach out that hand and pull you up.
Jade Tootoosis – Social Activist
My late Grandma Brown. She was my great grandmother, and my first best-friend growing up. When she passed away, it was my very first time dealing with loss and experiencing death itself and the impacts it has on me. As I started to grow up, I heard more and more about her as an individual. One story I love is about the time her, my dad, and a lot of my relations occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco back in the 1960s (...) Seeing pictures of my grandmother occupying, reclaiming space, and being so proud, it’s one of those images that sticks in my mind. A lot of the stuff I have experienced in the last year, she’s one of the people that comes to mind to give me courage and strength to be an advocate, to speak out, to reclaim space, reclaim energy, to be proud of who I am. I hope with everything I'm doing today, she’d be proud of me (...) I like to imagine that she’s right there beside me when I take a stand.
Michael Linklater – Basketball player/Motivational Speaker
My role model is the man who raised me, Walter Linklater. He is my great aunt's husband, but he was the man I called ‘Dad’ until he passed a few months ago. The love he gave me – he was a residential school survivor, and was not necessarily given or shown that (love) as a child himself, yet he was still able to provide it for me (...) He knew his struggles, that he had to get over his addictions, and turned to his culture and ceremony. He was able to start sharing and teaching the ways of our people, so seeing him dedicate his entire life to helping other people was something that was very profound to me. He was a shining example for what we should be, not only as men, but as human beings. (...) Him being drug and alcohol is another example he set for me. Not once have I experimented with drugs or alcohol because that's what he showed me.
Mary Culbertson – Treaty Commissioner
I don’t have just one because I’ve been formed by so many people. I always admired and looked up to all the people who were single parents around me. I had an aunt who raised for girls by herself. And my mom, having to do what she could when her and my dad weren't together. A lot of the single parents, having to do double duty, and still get through school and put food on the table. The people who shaped me are the people like my Mom who had to survive by doing what they had to do. I had to survive, and do what I had to do to get through school and raise my kids. If I didn’t have those people (as examples) to know sacrifice, then I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done.
Mike Scott – Motivational Speaker
I look up to people like my family members. I also I look up to Michael Linklater. He’s actually one of the first people I heard speak. He did a presentation that set me on this journey of wanting to follow this path of motivational speaking. He inspired me to do better. I talked to him that day, one on one, and he showed me a technique on trying, on how trying isn’t real - you either do something or you don’t. The choice is up to you (...) You have to remember what kind of person you want to be. Someone who is negative, talks down to people, belittles people, spreads gossip and hate, or you can be a positive role model, uplifting people, helping them smile and get through their day.