By Laura Booth, Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
The Horse Lake First Nation Council has appointed a representative to sit on the board of Peace Wapiti School Division No. 76.
Joy Joachim, born and raised in Horse Lake, swore an oath of office at the last board meeting, Thursday.
“It’s a great learning experience. I hope to keep people informed, keep myself informed, keep learning, just sharing information, and doing what I can to support the students,” she said.
In the mid-1990s, Joachim moved to Saskatchewan to earn an undergraduate degree in Native Studies and art. Following her graduation in 2001, she earned a business certificate from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies.
She has been back to Horse Lake for four years now. She lives with her four children who range in age from 10 to 21 years.
Joachim said her family is very close. Three generations of her family – her children, her self and her father – all participate in athletic activities together.
“We go all year long…with volleyball, bowling league, and then softball,” she said.. “…Also powwow dance and I do my own beadwork and regalia.”
In her position on the board, Joachim hopes to bring a perspective from the First Nation community.
She said more information has to be available and presented to students about First Nation cultures.
“Just more cultural awareness, cross-cultural awareness. Our schools are expanding, we got a lot more different ethnicities and backgrounds of people,” she said.
“…I think, just being more aware of different cultures and peoples and backgrounds is important.”
However, Joachim is happy to see a resurgence of pride when it comes to cultural practices and beliefs within younger First Nation generations.
“My parents, they grew up and it was shunned to be First Nations, speak your language…” she said.
“So, that kind of mentality has changed over the past couple generations where there’s more pride in that now.”
Joachim will attend PWSD meetings as an educational representative. She can offer input and share ideas, however she does not have voting power.
“Just getting First Nations’ perspectives on the table and really, just more information sharing to and from both sides. You know, I think there’s a gap between that right now,” she said