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Adrienne Quewezence

First Year Construction Craft Worker

March 2020

Adrienne Quewezence

Hi, my name is Adrienne Quewezance. I’m 22 years old. I am originally from Keeseekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan but was born and raised in Saskatoon. When I heard about Trade Winds to Success I was looking to get into any type of trade. My specific interest is underwater welding, but I just needed a chance for change. I looked at different trade schools, but I was in a rough time in my healing journey. I didn't meet the living situations which in the end turned out to be a good thing. One of my many supports found Trade Winds and thankfully it was Indigenous-based. When I enrolled at Trade Winds, the staff welcomed me with open arms - no judgements. I got into the construction craft labourers course and started on January 6, 2020. At the time, I was serving a federal sentence at the Edmonton Institution for Women.

No matter where you come from or what your background is, no matter how you were raised; you can push through any walls in front of you. I am living proof. I came from a broken family. Suffered many traumas, all types of abuse. I tick almost every statistic box that could hold a person from changing. I faced all the negative stereotypes that others have on Indigenous people. I almost fell into believing them. I lived the life they claim we all have, but here I am today taking back my strength. I am returning to my roots and busting every wall that’s put in from of me. Today, I am happy to share my story; to hear from people whose lives are touched by what I will share. All the suffering I went through are now the positive changes I made for me and my family.

 My first few weeks at Trade Winds was a little rough but I kept showing up. The staff and my classmates kept uplifting us by having daily cultural activities and life-skills counselling. It helped my self-esteem being with other Indigenous people, knowing we all had a past. Staff encouraged us to stick together and we did. 

Before the program, I wasn’t in any contact with the outside world for over 2 years. I had anxiety and had to struggle with going back to the jail every day. I pushed through. The staff, and my classmates became of my biggest supports. I really loved the open arms that the Trade Winds family environment provided.

Going to Trade Winds opened doors for me and helped me with a whole new view of life, and opportunities. Success happens to Trade Winds graduates. I encourage others who have been in my shoes or similar struggles to apply because I know they will do well because of Trade Winds to Success's dedication to helping others get the training and jobs.

You know, Trade Winds help me in a lot of other aspects too: academics, healthy relationships, what to expect out in the work force, motivation. I got really good guidance for my path. I also met my boyfriend through Trade Winds and we are developing our partnership. Trade Winds helped us with tools that guide us in caring for our mind, body and spirits. He's also another good thing to come into in my life.  Through Trade Winds, most of my classmates became like family. When the pandemic hit us, our group had to stop training for the time being. I didn’t want to sit at home and waste the tickets.  The Trade Winds staff helped me with my resume and, with all the tickets that I got through the program, I found work on the LRT line!

Without the program I wouldn’t know where I would be or how successful my release would have been. I did it, as an ex-convict, Indigenous women, and a mother. I made it through. I didn’t take no for an answer. Some jobsites said, "no experience." I kept applying anyway. I applied at over 150 jobs and waited weeks to hear back from one.  I kept applying, ended up with a great job making really good money. Now the job offers kept pouring in. I became a pro at applying for jobs for construction craft labourers. I pay it forward by sharing my knowledge with my former classmates. I believe that for me Trade Winds showed me dedication. I want to show people that no one can define who I am but me. As an Indigenous woman entering the trades, I plan to conquer the workforce. It is time for our people to heal and show the world the hard loving, dedicated people we are.  Something that spoke to me going through all this was this quote by Miranda Marrott:

“I choose to live by choice, not by chance. To be motivated, not manipulated. To be useful, not used. To make changes, not excuses. To excel, not compete. I choose self-esteem not self-pity, I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.”

No matter what you went through in the past, if you want to change your own life, consider taking the first step by contacting Trade Winds to Success. I did, and I am now changing my future. Thank you, Trade Winds to Success.

Hiy Hiy

Adrienne Quewezence

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