The FRIEND Project…
…is Fighting to give Niagara’s Indigenous people opportunity.
…sees Racism as a barrier that only the truth can unravel.
…is Inclusively engaging the community at large.
…is Empowering all the people to achieve success.
…helps Niagara’s people see positive Indigeneity.
…is a Dialogue of civic significance.
The FRIEND Project is highlighting the Real People of Fort Erie, Niagara. The real contributions of a few women and a few men are story of Niagara’s original people. The Real People are Indigenous community members making a positive change as part of their lifelong journey. The roots are racism run deep, but the drive to live in a good way has countered strongly. The real people, and really all the people, will define what this greater community values by living in a peaceful, respectful and then friendly way.
These are the stories of the real people:
Allan Jamieson has worked tirelessly on numerous causes throughout the past decades in the Six Nations, Buffalo, and Fort Erie communities. He has challenged the legal system by being a champion for Indigenous rights. Allan achieved success in Western education but never sacrificed his deep appreciation of the rich ways of the Ukwehu:we people. He is currently serving as the President of the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre.
In a sit down interview with The FRIEND Project Allan shares his story with strong themes of empowerment, balance and responsibility:
“We have to be working within the natural world. That’s a part of our mission is to try and educate the settlers. We’ve got a knowledge that spans thousands of years.”
The full interview with Allan can be heard here:
Jennifer Brant is a Brock University Faculty of Education PhD candidate. In 2016, Jennifer and Dr. Dawn Memee Lavell-Harvard brought together the important Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada as co-editors. This book brought Jennifer’s lifelong involvement in community issues together with her burgeoning academic achievements. Never idle, she has served for years as a volunteer Director for the Board of the Niagara Regional Native Centre and a committed advocate for a broad range of issues important to the lives of the Indigenous people of Niagara.
In this interview with The FRIEND Project Jennifer's passion and drive shine through, showing why she's working hard sometimes building things with no blueprint or template to reference:
“The questions: should we be learning culture? Should we be learning these things within an educational institution? I think that there’s a need to carve out space for Indigenous knowledge in education."
The full interview with Jennifer can be heard here:
Leanne Standryk is a partner at Lancaster, Brooks & Welch. She is a longstanding accomplished legal specialist but still dedicates time and energy to important community initiatives including recently having served as the Chair of the Niagara YMCA Board of Directors. Her expertise has been sought by media outlets including the CBC demonstrating her keen judgement and strong communication skills.
When Leanne shared some of her guidance and perspective with The FRIEND Project it would be almost impossible not glean professionalism, persistence and preparedness from her thoughts:
“I think that’s it’s important to understand that success doesn’t mean avoiding failure. Failure is a natural part of the journey to success and it just means that you have to have the courage to persevere and continue.”
The full interview with Leanne can be heard here:
Samuel Thomas has elevated Indigenous arts by blending creativity and skill for several decades. His work is as emotional and tireless as he is. Underneath the strong passion that is Samuel Thomas's expression is a razor sharp wit and a layers deep understanding of the ways of the Ukwehu:we people. His fidelity to his heritage has resulted in numerous accolades including, but not limited to, being the 2016 Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award recipient.
When Samuel shared his thoughts with The FRIEND Project he was able to seamlessly string universal values of goodness into the tried traditions of the People of the Longhouse:
“Every person has the ability to achieve what they want to achieve, every person has the ability to be what they want to be.”
The full interview with Samuel can be heard here: