It is with great excitement and pride, I reveal the creative collaborative project that I have been had the absolute honor of being able to work on for National Indigenous Day. When I was approached with this opportunity, I was more than happy to be able to have a part in it but little did I realize how much it would build up in the end into something more meaningful. It was absolute pleasure to be able to collaborate with the creative team for Loblaws to create a feature based on a bit of my story discovering and re-connecting with my Metis culture to release across Canada for National Indigenous Day. It is with even more excitement that I reveal that the photos I have attached to the feature are self portraits that I created for this occasion. The creative team allowed me the creative freedom to take my own portraits and the 1st photo in Black and White with Selective color was chosen for the final draft. The second photo attached is my personal favorite out of the images that I submitted to the team. I cannot express how grateful and excited I am for this truly amazing opportunity. Without further ado and permission from the team, here is the final version that was on June 21st 2019 (National Indigenous Day)
"A look through my lens"
In honor of National Indigenous People’s Day, we spoke to colleague Delaney Cunningham, a personal shopper at Peter’s Independent Grocer in Kelowna, about what the day means to her.
A camera lens became the gateway to my world at 17. That’s also around the time I began connecting with my Métis heritage. Since then, I’ve been on a journey of learning, growing and capturing every moment in between.
I always knew I was Métis, but honestly, I was never raised closely connected with my Indigenous way of life. I started the cultural-discovery on my own in high school.
What I discovered about my people was beautiful: being Métis is deeply spiritual. And, most importantly, being Métis is about community, family, connections and inclusivity. These are the qualities I try to embody and project in my own life too.
Interestingly, as a personal shopper at Peter’s Independent Grocer in Kelowna, I actually find the value of inclusivity among my colleagues here. I’ve been working at Peter’s for nearly three years and started out part-time, just doing a bit of cleaning here and there. Peter’s inclusive and supportive environment actually helped build my confidence and now, I take delivery orders from people and shop for them. I really feel like I’m providing an important community service and helping those around me.
Peter even let’s me incorporate my photography in our team activities. He’s also a big supporter of Métis community groups here (seriously, they love him!)
For me, National Indigenous People’s Day is an incredible way to come together, share culture, and find value in inclusivity. Canada is a whole country, yet within us, there are beautiful variations of people.
While I wake up each day filled with pride from being Métis, as an Indigenous woman, I am also aware of the dangers so many of us face. National Indigenous People’s Day is not only a reminder of the cultural successes for Indigenous people in Canada, but also of the work that remains ahead of us to support our collective safety.
I believe we have to embrace our roots, and recognize our past, to truly create a better future for Canada.