Native Language Lead
Provide a brief general introduction of yourself.
Waaciiye! Sarah Johnson nitishinihkaas. North Caribou Lake First Nation nitooncii. I was born in Weagamow Lake and raised by my Elders. I speak and write in my Oji-Cree language.
What does your daily job entail?
I am currently working as Native Language / Perspectives Lead for Keewaytinook Okimakanak. My job involves many projects and travelling to the communities as a support person to Native language teachers and the schools. I seek Elders for guidance and continue to learn academia in higher education.
What got you interested in your chosen career?
I have been working in education for most of my life. My dear friend Graham Lloyd, who has now passed away, was a mentor and encouraged me to pursue education as a career. I have experience teaching from kindergarten to university level. I have visited most schools in Sioux Lookout region as a researcher, teacher, and curriculum developer. My lifelong passion is Anishininiimowin. I utilize Native language and culture in my teachings. Most of the teachings come from Elders that taught me over the years. It is very important to preserve our language and skills that we learned from Elders and the Land.
What financial opportunities did you use and what was the process?
I had Northern Nishnawbe Education Council support my education which I’m very grateful for. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I did not have their financial support.
What are some things you like about your career?
I love learning and pursuing new projects and activities. I love reading and dancing. I hope to take a Principal qualification course someday and I would also like to write a story of my life to my grandchildren.
What would you like to share with the youth reading this?
My message to the youth is: “Do not underestimate the use of your language as it defines you who you are.”