Oki niisto aanako Aanahkiaayaakii (Pretty Bear Woman), Nicole Tailfeathers, I'm the oldest outof my siblings with one younger sister and I have a nephew who is four years old whom I love very much. I was raised by my grandmother who was a residential school survivor and was taught the traditional beliefs of the Blackfoot people. My community is the Blood Tribe located on the Blood Reserve also known as Kainai and it's one of the biggest reserves in Canada with a population of about 15,000 members. To date the Blood Tribe has four Nation members who are doctors and one who is a dentist. We are a strong and resilient tribe. We are a very proud people who still practice our cultural ceremonies today and are bringing back our way of life in many different ways. Our traditional Blackfoot language is coming back, our ceremonies are being passed on and we fully utilize the knowledge and skills of our Elders and community members.
After years of being out of school, I made the decision to continue my education in the field of social work. I believe that there needs to be more Indigenous social workers. From my previous job experience, working with different professionals, attending conferences and workshops all of which have tailored me to take this educational direction of becoming an Indigenous social worker. I strongly believe our Indigenous children need more cultural support, increased advocacy and people of Indigenous heritage working in the child welfare system. I strongly believed that no Indigenous child should ever experience such trauma in their life, to be disconnected from their culture, refused and or delayed in services, or displaced from their traditional territory. Every Child Matters. Even more so with all the unmarked graves from the residential school era being found. So that is why I am pursuing to be an Indigenous social worker. To hopefully be that person that implements policy change within the system, to have our Indigenous children fully supported spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually throughout their lives especially our children with special needs. To make sure our children are in safe and healthy environments but ultimately making sure they remain connected to their tribal identities.