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HSH celebrates Indigenous History

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to recognize the rich history,

heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Cassandra's Story

Sheridan College Social Service Worker (SSW) intern Cassandra Charles joined HSH in January as a new practicuum student. “I am an outgoing, but shy individual, who comes from a mostly Indigenous background with a little European in there. I have also played soccer my whole life,

as it is one of my biggest passions. I am all about hearing people’s stories and keeping an open mind to life’s journey and providing the best case management support to HSH families.”

- Cassandra

Cassandra, a 20-year-old Sheridan College SSW student has been with HSH since January 2024. As she works towards obtaining her diploma and gaining social work experience with the HSH team, her future hope is to build a career serving and supporting Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous Community.

She shared challenges the Indigenous community often face, mentioning, “My mom said the people often struggle and do not have the resources and mental health supports they need.”

Cassandra recognizes her Indigenous heritage through her Dad, of the Chippewas of Georgina Island, an Anishnaabe Nation. However, she also credits her mom, who is of European decent, for being instrumental in fostering her relationship with her Indigenous identity. Her mother stays in touch with Patti Big Canoe, an Education Lead, who helps Cassandra navigate the complexities of her Indigenous identity and engages in discussions of how it relates to her studies.

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, a time to recognize the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Being proud and open about her Indigenous identity was not always true for Cassandra. While she has fond memories of her paternal grandma’s home adorned with pictures of wolves and dreamcatchers, there was not a lot of exposure to her culture nor a connect to her community. Upon learning of her own roots, Cassandra didn’t find any particular meaning to her identity, expressing, “When I was young, I didn’t think it mattered… a background is a background.”

However, as time passed, Cassandra not only became curious, but began to notice patterns and barriers in her everyday experience, especially in her years of high school and college. From the tiresome comments like, “You don’t look Indigenous,” to navigating rules surrounding her rights to her Indigenous Status for not just herself but future children when pursuing being legally adopted by a non-Indigenous father figure, to hearing more about land acknowledgements and Indigenous history.

Cassandra found resources through Sheridan’s Centre of Indigenous Learning and Support, and

has been grateful for additional resources she’s come to learn of while working at HSH and with

Indigenous clients. Cassandra is eager to learn more about her history and community, and is excited of the prospects for building a future career.

Learn More

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada and there is an Indigenous Canada

free upcoming webinar on the topic of Indigenous community engagement, hosted by the Faculty of

Native Studies and CPHR Alberta (Chartered Professionals in Human Resources). Join in June 13 to

learn from faculty and alumni, Drs. Matthew Wildcat and Shalene Jobin, Brent Boisvert and Jenna (JJ) Broomfield. More information and registration details are here:

Also, if you are looking for more learning topics from the Faculty of Native Studies, visit its website to learn about and register for courses offered this summer.



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