“I learned the importance of hard work under the watchful eye of my grandmother. She provided many teachings with unconditional love. One was to thank the Creator every day for whatever blessings we receive."
Jimmy found residential school was not a bad experience for him. He left Grade 11, eager to join the workforce. A one year General Electrical course at Red River Community College led to several wiring jobs in northern Manitoba before landing Jimmy a position with Manitoba Telephone. Jimmy wired telephones throughout the north until retirement 27 years later.
Tradition is important to Jimmy. "I want to carry on what we were taught. If we lose our traditions, just like if we lose our language, we suffer the loss of our identity. Spiritually, I take every step with pride as a First Nation person. I respect everyone’s beliefs and ways of worship.”
He is proud to be deemed a positive role model for youth. Jimmy commented after receiving a prestigious award in 2015 for his work as an Elder: “We need to instill self-confidence, motivation and pride in our young people. I want to help First Nations any way I can – to be part of the solution."
Jimmy Hunter Spence