CONTRIBUTION · 16th October 2011
I knew I wanted to help make the world a better place when I was 7 years old, after I read Black Like Me by John H Griffin. He wanted to experience first-hand what it was like to be a black man in the southern states in 1959 – not an easy feat for a white man. He cut his hair short and took pills that darkened his skin, and then hopped on a bus to New Orleans. He went around the southern states until he could take the racism no more and wrote about what he was subjected to and how it felt. I am First Nations by birth, adopted by a non-Native family and grew up in white middle class suburbia and I identified with what he wrote to some degree.
At Concordia University I studied Sociology and Political Science for my first B.A. and a few years later graduated With Distinction and an Honours degree in Religion, concentrating on Eastern religions. Along the way I learned as much as I could academically about the First Nations. I was fortunate enough to learn about my nation and my community – I am Oji-Cree of Sagkeeng, Manitoba, and journey back, meeting many members of my biological family over the years, including former grand chief of the AFN Phil Fontaine.
Since then I have been the Intercultural Liaison for the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal where I promoted the awareness of First Nations and mediated round table discussions. I was a journalist for the Cree of northern Quebec where I dealt with big businesses and politicians. I was the Quebec representative for NARIA – the National Aboriginal Recording Industry Association, and was on the Aboriginal Juno Award committee of 2005.
I have been in Terrace for almost three years now. Employed by PNGI as a Lifeskills Coordinator, I work with people who have invisible disabilities. This involves role modeling and teaching life skills as well as developing tools for learning. It requires humility, empathy, excellent listening skills and the ability to think outside the box. I am on the Measuring Up Terrace committee and a volunteer with the Special Olympics. I have volunteered with Shutter to Think, TORCA, the BC Winter Games among others. In my spare time I like to run, bike, swim, ski, write and read.
I am running for city councillor because like the other candidates I believe in the people and the city of Terrace. I also believe job development and the push to attract industry and investments is extremely important and needs to encompass creating a quality of life that is accessible by all. Go no further than turning the news on today to see how disenchanted people are with the hidden agendas of government, reckless spending and corporate influence. The word on the streets of the world is what people have been saying right here in Terrace for the past while: they want a local government they can respect, that is accountable and will work towards bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.
There’s an old saying that it’s easier to break a single stick than it is to break a bunch and metaphorically, right now Terrace is made up of a lot of separate little bundle of sticks. Our minority communities are vital and strong, who want to be part of the process and get a piece of the pie. It’s time for the council and the decisions it makes to more fairly represent the make-up of our unique city and address the needs of those who have been overlooked. City council needs to work together to strengthen the infrastructure that will allow our city to prosper and constituents feel they are an important part of. With my background, education and skills, I can help achieve this.
Comment by Dr. Bruce Bidgood on 18th October 2011
Congratulations on your nomination Tamara and good luck in the campaign.
Welcome to the Race
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 16th October 2011
It's really great to see you involved, and getting out there! I look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.