History and family lineage is important to our First Nations people. Often when meeting our Elders for the first time it is expected to give your name and the names of your parents and grandparents. Often the Elder will know relatives and usually some kind of story will be shared. This connection between First Nations people is one of the many attributes that keep our communities strong.
Unfortunately, this has not come easily. There was a dark time in History where First Nations people were taken from their community and sent to Residential School. The dominant society tried to take away traditional knowledge and language of First Nations people across Canada.
Both of my parents, Anne Lezard and George McGinnis, were taken as children to these schools of deprivation and hardship. Because of the impact of the Residential school on my parents, I was adopted and raised away from my siblings by a wonderful man, John Morris.
I remember him taking me to go visit my great grandparents, George and Louisa Lezard. My grandparents had an arranged marriage. I was told that my great grandpa didn't even like her at first. I thought this was funny considering they were married for over seventy years. My great Grandfather, George Lezard, was renowned for his carvings. In 1971, he gave a carved pipe to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Penticton as part of her Royal Tour.
I was born on October 26, 1968 in Penticton, British Columbia and am part of the Syilx Nation (Okanagan Nation), neighbors to the Scw'exmx people. I married my love, Stephen Dick, in 1992. We have three children, Jon-Anthony, Stephenie and Curtis. I graduated from University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan with a Bachelor Degree of Social Work.
So far my Life's Path has been pretty amazing. I have been a youth worker, prison guard, First Nations support worker in a school, and unexpectedly, an actor. Not in a million years did I think I would be in a movie. When Nino Jacusso offered me the role of "Lela Woodland", I was happy, excited, and scared. I thought "Are you crazy?" because I was not that confident I would be able to meet the challenge. But with the solid support from Nino, cast and crew, I fully enjoyed the experience of making "Shana:The Wolf's Music". I believe the film will offer enjoyment and inspiration to its viewers.
After having been pampered and attended to on the set of "Shana", it was a quick trip back to reality once filming had wrapped. One day I was an actor and the next, back to my world as a wife and mother. Life is ever changing and you never know where it will take you, but I do know I am ready for the next adventure.