Le Metis - March 27, 2024

March 27, 2024

Educating with heart: Red River Métis sisters making a difference in the classroom

Red River Métis sisters Morgan (right) and Mackenzie (left) Bard both have a passion for education.

Red River Métis sisters Morgan and Mackenzie Bard are forging their own paths within the field of education.

Mackenzie has been teaching for the past four years in the Seine River School Division, and Morgan is finishing her final year at the Université de Saint-Boniface's (USB) Faculty of Education. Their commitment to education has not only transformed the lives of their students, but has also become a beacon of inspiration for the broader community.

"I've bounced all over the place with the years I've taught," said Mackenzie. "I've taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 9. Now, I am comfortably teaching a 5/6 position, and it's awesome. It's been one of my favourite things."

The Red River Métis Citizen's path to being a teacher wasn't always this straightforward.

"I had a longtime dream of being a vet. I wanted to be a vet forever when I was little, and I realized that that would entail not just being around cute animals all the time," she said, "and I thought teaching was going to be my next best option."

Morgan wanted to enter the education field after falling in love with the idea of educating others, especially in languages, after she learned Spanish in high school.

"Languages are so important nowadays. It opens new doors to culture, opportunities, and travel," she said. "I worked with the City of Winnipeg for a couple of years, and I enjoyed planning out and organizing activities for students."

"I always feel heard as an Indigenous educator with the MMF and getting that funding, and being told your education is important to us is always something that makes me feel good. And I feel supported by my government."
- Mackenzie Bard

Mackenzie noted that the teaching profession being the next best option is something you'll hear from many teachers, but that hasn't stopped her from loving it wholeheartedly.

"I fell in love with sharing my knowledge with other kiddos and learning from them. Teaching the age I do now, I'm learning things all the time and getting updated on what's cool and what's not," she said. "I love being here every day. I love seeing them smile. We do lots of novel studies, so it's been fun listening to their life experiences."

Mackenzie pursued her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts and then did her education degree at USB.

"I ended up teaching, and now I'm back doing my post-baccalaureate (in education). So, I can't get enough of school," she said.

Morgan is wrapping up her degree at USB. She never realized how her Red River Métis heritage would influence her teaching style until she started her student teaching portion of schooling and learning about the way in which humans teach each other.

"I try to create sustainable relationships with my students. I make sure that all my students are heard, respected, and that everyone can be themselves," she said. "I feel that those practices are the best way for children to express themselves while giving them room to learn more about their identities."

Mackenzie is always aware that she works in a very colonial education system.

"I work in a system that stripped people of their identity and my own family's identity, and I always go between being like, 'yes, there are tests. There are things we need to do', but at the same time, I'm always trying to incorporate my identity into my classroom and what I teach," she said.

The educator said she loves sharing her Red River Métis identity and knowledge with the students. Throughout the year, Mackenzie's class is always talking about what non-Indigenous and Indigenous students can do to work towards reconciliation.

"They always love it when I come to school in a ribbon skirt or beaded earrings," she said. "It's a sense of pride for me being able to share that identity that my mom, my Mémére, and my Grand-Mamie never were able to share with others."

Morgan noted that being an Indigenous educator has become an interesting aspect of her life, as she realized how little Red River Métis representation there is in the education world.

"I would love to see more proud Métis people in the field! My sister and I always talk about the impact we see at school, whether students are asking about our ribbon skirts or beadwork," she said. "It's been important for me as an educator to stay true to my culture so that other students can see Red River Métis representation."

"It's been important for me as an educator to stay true to my culture so that other students can see Red River Métis representation." - Morgan Bard

Mackenzie always tries to incorporate something in her classroom throughout each school day that has a bit of an Indigenous perspective.

"I'm always trying to incorporate those perspectives into my classrooms so my kids can see Indigenous Peoples' history in Canada has been a long, difficult road, but we're still here, and there's so much to be proud of," she said.

Morgan and Mackenzie work in the same school division, and Mackenzie said it's fun to tell people her sister is in the division and put in a good word for her. It's a sense of pride for Mackenzie watching her little sister follow in her footsteps.

"I know my mom is proud that both her daughters are university graduates because we're the first two on our mom's side who graduated from university. So, it was exciting to be one of those two (to graduate), and it's more exciting watching my little sister succeed in something I've already done," Mackenzie said.

Both sisters appreciate the Manitoba Métis Federation's (MMF) support. The MMF has offered Morgan a number of different supports and sponsorships throughout her education. She said the MMF's sponsorship has been beneficial, notably because this is her final year before graduating.

"This year in education is a very stressful period. I was worried about being able to stay on top of my schoolwork, practicum work, and my part-time job. The sponsorship has been able to aid me by taking off financial stress, as I can focus on school work without worrying about making ends meet for rent or groceries," she said.

Mackenzie said the MMF is the one reason she could afford to pay her tuition.

"It's been nice to not worry about money while getting another degree and pushing myself as an educator," she said. "I always feel heard as an Indigenous educator with the MMF and getting that funding, and being told your education is important to us is always something that makes me feel good. And I feel supported by my government."

Regional meeting a success in Thompson

The MMF wants to thank Citizens for attending the Thompson Regional Meeting on March 16! The MMF believes regional meetings are a great opportunity to connect with your National Government of the Red River Métis to stay informed, ask questions, and raise concerns. To find out about more regional meetings and other events, click here or contact your Regional Office.

To view the PDF, Click Here


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