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"My mother shared the value of all cultures with us ": Barry Payne

I am very humbled and excited to be able to share how important my Indigenous ancestry is to me.  My upbringing is not what one might consider a traditional indigenous upbringing.   I was raised by a single parent in subsidized housing in Toronto – away from our community.

While we may have not been part of our ancestral community and missed out on the traditional circle ceremonies where we might have learned from elders in the community, my mother made sure that we learned to respect and value all the different cultures we were surrounded by in Toronto.

Whether we realized it or not at the time, our (the Aboriginal) way of life has always been one of acceptance of the other and of oneness and through our mother we learned to be accepting of the beauty of the diversity that was presented to us. My journey came full circle when I returned to my home community of Hiawatha First Nation and slowly immersed myself in our rich culture and history. The Mississaugi people are a vibrant, proud, independent, and healthy people balanced in the richness of our culture and traditional way of life, residing in our present territory for 1000’s of years.

We try to live a healthy way of life “Mino Bimaadizin”; the teachings passed down from ancestors. These teachings include 7 Grandfathers given to us by the Creator and passed down through many generations. These teachings can be applied and shared with every culture and would truly make this world a better place for everyone. Since learning and adopting them to heart, I now try to help my children and grandchildren live by these teachings of wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, and truth.

I once heard Thomas Dale Jackson, speaking to a group of Indigenous businesspeople and this phrase stuck with me: “We can’t change the last 200 years, but we can change the next 200 years.” Therefore, I truly appreciate being a member of CAMSC and the opportunity it gives me to grow my business and support my family and my community.

To do my part in changing the next 200 years, my business, OnNation, has partnered with Audio Eye, an organization committed to eradicating barriers to digital access. For too long, the technologies and digital experiences that so many of us take for granted are rife with errors and issues that prevent people with disabilities equal access. I would love to help your business meet the AODA deadline on June 30th for Accessibility Reporting.

Please feel free to reach to connect with me at [email protected]