I like the smallness and isolation of this community. I don’t like how busy it is in the cities. I don’t mind visiting for a movie, the opera or fine dining, but I like the idea of making a fire in the bush, making a coffee, and being part of a tight-knit community. I love to be outside. There is a difference in the air. My nose can tell when I’m coming into Edmonton. It’s clean here.
Aaron's Story - Fort Simpson
I’ve lived in Fort Simpson in October 2000. I’m originally from Gordon’s First Nation (Cree), about an hour north of Regina. My parents always expected me to be the one who moved away. I went to Quebec during my summers, to visit my family on my mother’s side, where I started learning a bit of French and Woodlands Cree, which is different from the Plains Cree I’m familiar with.
Living on a Reserve there wasn’t much work, except temporary jobs. I worked as a general laborer, electrician’s helper, taking census, telemarketing, and event organization. I was putting a new roof on a pig barn in the middle of a snowstorm and saw two of my co-workers slide off a roof. I decided then and there that I didn’t want to do that kind of work anymore, so I went back to school, got my degree in psychology and moved up here.
I figured the NWT would be like Quebec, and it is, but the distances are longer between communities. I met my wife, Connie while at university, so you could say I moved up here for love. I got a job at the Friendship Centre as a Project Coordinator when I came, but I’m now the Director. We’re a small organization, so even though I have a nice title, I do everything from janitorial to supervision to working on financials. Even if you’re fresh out of school you can find a good job here in different areas of social work — like as a frontline worker.
After work, my time is spent with my wife and son, going to play group, sliding, whatever is going on. I also just got involved with a judo group that started up — something I used to take seriously when I was younger.
People that stay here get involved in the community. If you get involved in community activities, interact with the people, and develop a social network outside of work, it will give you a better understanding of the community.