Brandon is a 22 year old from the Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba. The youngest member of his family, Brandon became the first out of five children to graduate high school, and the first in the family to attend university, in part because of the support he received through Pathways to Education. Brandon is a part-time student in the Urban and Inner City Studies program at the University of Winnipeg and a full-time academic facilitator at CEDA Pathways in Winnipeg. Recognizing the opportunity and support he received, Brandon feels he has a gift to give back to the young people in his community and knows he can make changes both big and small.
Brandon started a weekly basketball clinic for inner city youth at two different recreation centres in 2012, and got the opportunity to fly to Shamattwa, Manitoba, to run an all-day basketball clinic for youth living in the isolated community. Last summer Brandon started to coach a basketball team in the Ndinawe league, giving students a routine and a positive extra-curricular activity to look forward to. Additionally, he partnered with Basketball Manitoba and was able to ensure that everyone on the team had access to basketball shoes - for many, it was their first pair of good basketball shoes.
Brandon is also a member of a youth movement called the 4R’s, an initiative whose goal is to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada through workshops, dialogues, and activities focused on reconciliation. Brandon continues to speak to youth at various events such as the National Youth Conference, to share his experiences, inspire others, and give youth hope.
"Receiving this $1,500 grant from Shaw reminds me I am on a positive path in life and I am capable of much more," says Brandon. "The Bear Clan Patrol Inc. is a grassroots movement that follows traditional philosophies and practices. Winnipeg has the highest urban Indigenous population in Canada and it is important to me that Aboriginal people from the community are engaged in protecting and serving their neighbourhood. The patrol group relies on volunteers, donations, and the kindness of others to keep them operating and that's why I have chosen them as the recipient of the grant.”