Cultural autobiography

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Cultural autobiography

My name is Brandy Poorman. I have been married to my husband Brad for five years with whom we have two boys aged three and seven. I also have a stepson who is twenty years old. I was born at the General Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta of July as Brandy JHunter to a young 17-year-old mother. She was unstable and unreliable at the time. Therefore, she could not take care of me. Accordingly, my Metis grandparents raised me but I later discovered they were my great uncle and aunt. They had previously adopted my mother from the age of two because her father had passed away. His death had left her with an unstable addicted mother who took her to an orphanage.

However, my great auntie and uncle had not adopted me instead, they returned me to my mother and stepfather at the age of seven. I never got to know my biological father. My mother and stepfather had two more sons aged 20 and 24. The oldest brother has been engaging in drug and gang violence for several years. These activities have seen him engaged in continuous court processes. The youngest brother has been under my care since he was five. Two years ago, he graduated from high school with honors and currently resides with my mother. However, my mother’s behavior and lack of discipline has influenced him against continuing with his education and seeking employment.

At the age of seventeen, I was motivated by adventure to go against my parent’s wishes. Consequently, I dropped out of school and did menial jobs in order to save up enough money to travel the globe. At the time, I left home for months and it was at this period my parents filed for divorce. My father was adversely affected by the process and committed suicide. I decided to change my life and my brothers’ far from my family’s addiction issues. I was determined not to allow my future children to be raised under such an environment. Consequently, as an Aborigine I joined an exchange program for the Canada World Youth Organization in Mexico. I had a significant cultural and social experience in Amatland Mexico for four months.

I got to experience the diverse culture of the Mexican people from the customs, attire, holidays and food. After my stay in Mexico, I was given a colorful Rebozo (woven shawls made of silk, wool and cotton for women) by one of the local indigenous women. After my return from Amatland, I wanted to pursue my career as a police officer but I lacked funding to join Nor Quests Aboriginal Policing Program. I continued to save in order to pursue a policing program in the future. However, the birth of my first-born made me reconsider policing and take another job in the justice system.

I have had the opportunity to facilitate and mentor people in the Restorative Justice Programs and seen the positive impact the program has on offenders and victims. Programs such as Just-us-girls Justice Committee and the Aboriginal Youth Adult Justice Committee offer opportunities to hold offenders accountable and allow them to heal with their victims. My involvement with children and high-risk youth has been beneficial for my experience and knowledge. Currently, I am working with children that are involved in sexual exploitation. I am also a youth/child welfare court worker as well as volunteer in justice committees situated in Edmonton. I am also an active youth advocate.

My leisure time is influenced by my cultural experiences. I grew up in the Metis culture and understood my origin. In addition, I have interacted with people from different cultures such as Hispanics, Mexicans, Indians and Africans. I share my culture and teach my children the customs through singing, dancing, events and meals. My children engage in activities in the Aborigine events and performances within the city. We also celebrate various ceremonies and holidays like Christmas and New Year as family and share gifts. We share mealtimes during dinner and I regularly cook traditional Aborigine food, which my children enjoy. We sometimes eat fast food and Mexican food. I am a living testimony that life’s tribulations can be overcome. I have been successful to save my money and take online course at Grant McEwan. I transferred to Lethbridge to finish my diploma from the support of my band.

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