My name is Marie-Eve and I am from the Huron-Wendat Nation. I am currently working as a psychosocial worker at Projets Autochtones du Québec.
I was born in the Outaouais region from a Quebecer mother and a Huron-Wendat father. I have 2 sisters and a brother. For all of us, it was important to do activities together. In fact, I grew up in a loving family with whom I still have a very good relationship. Family is one of my greatest values. When I was young, we used to travel back and forth between Gatineau and the Saguenay to spend time with my grandparents at their cottage in the forest. During those weeks, we used to go hunting and fishing. This alternation between city and nature was part of our way of life at every opportunity.
Most of my teenage years were spent in the southern United States, mainly due to my father’s work. Coming to the United States was a big uprooting for me and for the whole family. At the age of 14, I dropped out of school and became involve in delinquency. This period of crisis lasted for a while. The path I decided to take was not necessarily the easiest one. I quickly realized that without schooling I would always find myself in precarious jobs. When I was 17, I decided to return to my roots. I then lived in the Huron Village where I also worked. At the age of 20, I left to go around Canada with my backpack. Finally, I stayed in Calgary for 4 years to explore and work. The moves and travels I made have had a big impact on my life.
Once I came back in Quebec and after spending some time in the Huron Village, I chose Montreal for strategic reasons, as the metropolis offered me more opportunities than Quebec City. At that time, I experienced a period of residential instability. During this period, I discovered Projets Autochtones du Québec, located at 90 de la Gauchetière E. For about 3 months, I attended PAQ; it was a safe place that met my basic needs.
At the age of 27, I decided to go back to school in a more sustained way. I completed a program that allowed me to work in a law firm in litigation. This specific experience motivated me to go to college and university; I wanted to become a lawyer. I entered the Université de Montréal in order to increase my average to go to law school. So, I did a bachelor’s degree in criminology, community action and social work. However, this degree did not have a significant impact on my average. Si I built a plan B and started a career development program in counseling. The studies were largely a healing therapy for me.
Following my studies, I obtained a position in employability, which revealed to me my clear preference for the psychosocial side of the human being. Helping my community and being involved in the defense of Indigenous rights and cultural values motivates me even more. I chose to apply at PAQ because the mission of this organizations is more in line with my work values.
I think I am a good source of inspiration for the community because of my experience. Having experienced both side of the medal makes it easier for me to understand the needs and experiences of the participants. With me, participants can work on many areas of their lives and on their personal or professional goals in the short to medium term.
What I like about PAQ is the atmosphere and the community spirit that prevails. People recognize themselves here and I often hear, “I’m going home”. They don’t see this place as a shelter, but as their home, which means a lot to me. In addition, PAQ brings me a joie de vivre and practically a second family, since mine lives in the Quebec City Area. It is also a discipline in my life. I think I bring to the participants a positive way of seeing things. I like to use humor to de-dramatize things, no matter how difficult it is.
I have many personal goals, but the one that is most important to me at the moment is a new family cottage project. In the longer term, I would like to realize several dreams, which will be good investments for the future, but first, I want to finish what I started in Montreal.
Finally, I think there is still a lot to be done for Indigenous people, although we have come a long way. If anything could be better for them, it would be to change negative public opinion by valuing our positive experiences and building our esteem as a Nation across Canada. What is needed to bring change is, first and foremost, people who are committed and invested.