Good morning, everyone.
Thank you for having me here. It's an honour to be here. It's an honour to be a part of the whole independent Senate advisory process.
You have my CV, but I want to give you a bit of background on my life journey to where I am today. I was born on a small first nation in the Malpeque Bay off Prince Edward Island. The only way off the island in the summertime was by a small ferry. The only way to get off in the wintertime was by ice. The living conditions were very hard, but we learned some good ethics and strengths from those days. During those times, the residential school era and the sixties scoop both had effects on my small community.
I left the island because I had to go to high school, and I became the first Mi’kmaq person from P.E.I. to get a Red Seal trade certificate. Following that, I worked for a few years with my first nation, and then I went to apply for a job with the federal government. I was at the lowest end, as a CR-2 registry clerk. Nineteen years later, I was in a senior management position, and I worked my way up the ladder, learning as I went. Life has been a learning journey for me. I've gained a lot of skills. I was on many merit-based selection board processes in my time at the federal government. That certainly helped me to do what I have done here on the independent Senate advisory board.
Following that, I became the elected chief of the Abegweit First Nation in 2007, again in 2011, and again in 2015. I'm going into my 10th year as a first nation leader. That's where I'm at.
Thank you very much.