Theresa loves working for an organization that serves her Indigenous community
“I chose to leave my home province and move to Manitoba because there is a large Indigenous community here that I really wanted to serve. I’m Indigenous, and I’ve witnessed a lot of struggles in my own family—for example, my son struggles with a disability—so I understand the importance of helping one another.
Manitoba is one of the provinces with the highest population of Indigenous people. I think there’s nearly 93,000 of us in Winnipeg, and that number will increase steadily over time. But because of colonization and assimilation, Indigenous people have not been given the power to be who we were originally meant to be.
When I first moved here, I heard about the United Way-supported resource centre where I now work as a volunteer coordinator. Its name, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata, means ‘working together to help one another’ in Ojibway, which appealed to me right away. It’s a centre dedicated to strengthening Indigenous youth and families and it’s community-centric—not about ‘us’ and ‘them.’ The staff don’t try to make you someone you’re not—they take the gifts you already have and help you to blossom and shine.
Working with this organization is amazing—it gives incredible support back to its community. It’s an organization of Indigenous leaders and it’s completely Indigenous-run. In this day and age of truth and reconciliation, it’s nice to see that we can help young people and families who are struggling. Being part of an Indigenous-led organization allows us to be the most that we can be.
Sometimes, when you’re making a donation, you don’t think about where the money actually goes. Now, seeing firsthand the work that Ma Mawi does, I feel connected. When someone gives, we give back, in small ways and big ways.”—Theresa