Community Leaders: Pat Cameron

Pat Cameron

Pat Cameron is originally from Grand Falls-Windsor and currently resides in Point of Bay. Connecting with family members and other Mi’kmaq people keeps her grounded and involved in cultural activities. Pat is involved in her community and brings together people from all over central Newfoundland as president of the Exploits Valley Aboriginal Community Group (EVACG). For Pat being able to freely express her Mi’kmaq culture is not something she takes for granted as she noted that this was not something her grandparents nor parents had the privilege to do.

Aside from being president of the EVACG she is also a member of Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network and Eastern Door, and Past President of Exploits Native Women’s Association and has facilitated Senior’s Workshops, Violence Prevention, and Lateral Violence workshops in the Exploits Valley region.

I had the pleasure of meeting Pat through the EVACG when I started helping with the youth group called Bernie’s Puktew. Involving children in cultural activities is something that Pat strives to do by including them in all the presentations she facilitates and creating new opportunities specifically for youth. Through the EVACG they offer cultural presentations at libraries, schools, multi-cultural events, childcare centers, and senior care homes.

“These sharing sessions are a great learning opportunity for the young’ aboriginal and non-aboriginal students, with the awareness and knowledge they gain, we hope that they will share it with their families and peers,” she explained.

For Pat personally, staying connected to her Mi’kmaq culture means being aware of her surroundings. “I am very interested in vegetation, especially edible and medicinal plants and trees,” she said. In her free time, she collects plants to use in teas and canning. Berry picking is one of her many passions, she also does a number of other aboriginal crafts including, beading, making rattles, sealskin and leather jewelry, she is also a talented painter. Her talents and passion for her culture truly have no end because Pat is also a very talented drummer and singer and she shares this gift throughout the communities in Exploits Valley.

Whenever asked Pat can gather together a few drummers and really showcase beautiful Mi’kmaq music.

The restrictions put in place due to Covid-19 have not slowed her down any; since they have come into play, Pat has been following many tutorials and knowledge sharing videos that she shares with members of EVACG. It was also her idea to share daily gratitude with the group members to maintain a sense of togetherness and positivity through these dark times.

When asked what her vision for the future of Qalipu includes Pat said, “I would like to see Qalipu more visually represented in the public in central. I am looking forward to having larger presence events such as a Mawio’mi or even a pow wow. I would like to see a healing center in central and on the west coast to address all social and health needs for Qalipu members, such as doctors, mental health, legal support, addictions, domestic violence, dental, culturally based programs for all members.”

Pat is the embodiment of what it means to be a community leader. The work she does for Qalipu and her community does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.