Elizabeth Whiting

Country of Origin:

Canada

Themes:

Citizenship, Racism/Discrimination, Aboriginal Issues, Identity & Heritage

Photos:

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Bio

I am currently a student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC with a passion of social work and am hoping to into helping at risk Aboriginal youth. I have also studied two years at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia where I studied Philosophy. It was there that I truly started to feel in touch with my Aboriginal identity.

I am very involved with the Thompson Rivers University Students' Union where I hold the position as Aboriginal Representative.

Story

I grew up in a very white town in the middle of the Okanagan located in British Columbia. That's not normally where one who is aboriginal would be found. It also isn't a place where one is about to connect to their past and their ancestors. So while growing up, my father tried his best to teach my sister and myself about our Aboriginal history but it wasn't easy especially when Aboriginal people didn't have the best reputation and were still being discriminated against. While growing up, I didn't want to identify as an Aboriginal person, I didn't want to hold up to the stereotypes that were made and I didn't want to face what was actually going on within Aboriginal communities.

It was when I left for University in Nova Scotia that I started to truly connect to my Aboriginal identity and it's where I found myself. In Sydney, Nova Scotia there are so many native bands and the support they have for Aboriginal peoples is truly amazing. It wasn't something I found in the Okanagan and it was then when I was proud to call myself an Aboriginal person.

Fast forward five years, I am the Aboriginal Representative at Thompson Rivers University Students' Union. I am the chair of the Aboriginal Collective and I am the voice of the Aboriginal Students on campus. I am also the key holder to one of our campaigns on the Stolen Sisters in Canada and also am working on a campaign on mental health surround Aboriginal peoples.

I grew up always wanting to be a physician; I truly thought I wanted nothing else in life. But within the last five years I have completely changed my career goal to Social Work concentration on Aboriginal youth at risk.