Msko-aankwad kwe dizhinkaaz, Makwa Dodem. My English name is Bernadette Southwind, I was born in Sagamok. I am a mother, sister, auntie, and great auntie. I am a descendant from a strong residential school survivor. I am a 60's scoop survivor. The journey to working for our community in wellness has been a long road. Foremost, I am grateful to announce that I have been celebrating sobriety for the past 18 years. With this gift and many others, I became a Community Mental Health worker for Sagamok, “I am a helper”. Previous to my position here I completed my secondary education in Sagamok Adult Ed. Shortly thereafter, I completed a micro-business computer course with Cambrian college. The road to healing and discovery of myself lead to completing a course in Social Services with an Indigenous Specialization at Sault College of Applied Arts & Technology. This experience led me to work with a research team, implementing Aboriginal Worldview into the Nursing Program. I ‘ve been privileged to work with the homeless as program coordinator for JamesTown Soup Kitchen in Sault Ste. Marie. For two years I volunteered at a detox center, providing emotional support and encouragement as needed. This journey brought on many experiences helping those in need. I attended Algoma University, a former residential school, and studied sociology. It was a spiritual experience. I came back home to my ancestral roots 5 years ago and acted as project-coordinator for the Meshkoogoobwidiik program. This was a rewarding experience as participants, elders and community members united to bring forth gifts for the well-being of our community. I now recognize there are pivotal moments which bring us to where we are! Today, I bring to the MHA team lived experience, academia, compassion, love, clinical aspects, identity based method, and seeking safety approaches to addressing challenges. Most importantly, the door is always open, biindigeg!
Z’gamok Enterprises Inc. is a corporation 100% owned by the Sagamok Anishnawbek. It is mandated to maximize the economic development opportunities of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation within its traditional lands and within the Northern Ontario region in the resource sector and in services related to construction and resource development.