RICHARD PETERS is from two different areas, Tadoule Lake, Manitoba and Chimnissing, Ontario (Beausoleil First Nation). He grew up mostly in Ontario so, he self-identifies as belonging to the latter land base. Or rather, he prefers to say, “I identify as a Free Range Anishnabek…not a person of Off Reserve Status which would be the colonial designation”
Richard has been a client at Miziwe Biik for many years, first noticing the Centre when he was accessing services next door at Anishinawbe Health Toronto. Prior to moving forward with his training and career goals, Richard realized back then that he had personal work to do through counselling and ceremonies. He had to overcome a past affected by intergenerational trauma and addiction. Once he built a strong cultural foundation he was able to start a healing process that allowed him to transition into a demanding post secondary program. This was a challenge that would prove to be less intimidating after facing the steps to recovery.
Once he was ready to move forward with his studies, Miziwe Biik helped him by supporting his schooling through funding for books, supplies, and transportation and the provision of post secondary bursaries. The Centre also provided funding for an application for a Records Suspension (pardon) and driving lessons so, he could continue to advance without apprehension or impediments.
Currently, Richard is working as an Engineering and Design Standards Intern at Metrolinx. He was hired on for a one-year contract one month after graduating from a Civil Engineering Technology program. The majority of his work is more theoretical than the hands on tasks that his program prepared him for. But acquiring all of the important on-the-job training helps brings him closer to his original goal of being able to build water treatment plants for Indigenous communities. He has the technical know-how and after five years or so in the industry, he will gain the necessary experience in the areas of Site Supervision and Project Management that will him to undertake such a culturally significant and important community project.