A team member’s journey of rediscovering her Métis roots
June 20, 2023
Corrie Leeder, Associate PM, shares how she reconnected with her ancestors
- Associate Practice Manager explains how she reconnected with her Métis culture
- This is part of our National Indigenous Peoples Day special
- Click here to read our second article for this series
In a recent conversation about National Indigenous Peoples Day, Corrie Leeder, Associate Practice Manager at Bridgwater Veterinary Hospital (Winnipeg, MB) shared her journey of reconnecting with her cultural roots. Corrie is of Métis heritage and her family’s genealogy traces back to the 1600s.
“Family traditions have been lost due to the loss of my mother at a young age,” Corrie said.
Despite the loss of family traditions, Leeder actively sought out ways to reconnect with her culture.
“I learned a lot by doing my own research, reading, taking advantage of my children’s school programs, as well as reaching out to my community and family members,” she explained. “I found our genealogy book and spoke with a relative who is a history teacher that knows a lot about our culture.”
Sharing her culture with those around her
Recently, Corrie found a way to get in touch with her roots through beadwork and cultural events. Her children have also gotten into traditional beadwork, making earrings, jackets, and other items used in various gatherings. It’s important for her to pass down her cultural identity to her children.
Corrie is also happy to be part of an inclusive team that embraces her heritage. Hospital Administrator, Crystal Miller, shared that Bridgwater Veterinary Hospital recently held a Nail Trim Clinic to raise funds for the Bear Clan Patrol. They also raised awareness for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in September by wearing orange shirts designed by a two-spirit Ojibway artist named Patrick Hunter. All proceeds went to Indspire, a non-profit that invests in the education of First Nations youth.
How to be a good ally to Indigenous team members and the community
For Corrie, openness and curiosity are key. Learning about Indigenous peoples and their history can guide everyone to a better understanding of what has happened in the past and continues to happen today.
“Ask questions, be honest, have an open mind,” she said. “National Indigenous Peoples Day is for all Canadians – regardless of their ethnic background – to celebrate, recognize and appreciate the unique heritage, outstanding contribution and diverse culture of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.”
Celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day
Events celebrating this important holiday will take place from coast to coast in many communities where our practices are located. View this interactive map to learn if an event is taking place near you.
VetStrategy is committed to supporting diversity across the veterinary professions and within our business. We recently launched a new bursary program, and will be supporting 10 students from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) students and look forward to sharing a list of recipients in the coming months.