Passion in the Circle
Passion. It’s hard to not get a sense of the passion Rebecca Inoke feels for her job and the people she works with when you talk to her. A Family and Cultural Mentor for the XaXe SŦELIṮḴEL Daycare at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Inoke’s own cultural background lies in New Zealand, from the Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu iwi (tribes) on her father’s side.
“I always feel passionate about where indigenous people are and where they come from, such as here in Coast Salish territory,” Inoke says. “The Coast Salish have very similar values to my own Ngāti Kahungunu culture.”
These values are key to her work with children at the daycare. “Primarily,” she explains, “my work involves meetings with elders and wisdom keepers, bringing cultural programing to the XaXe Stelitkel Daycare, and making sure that what the children are learning is culturally sensitive and appropriate.”
Inoke is passionate about working with children and creating a positive place to bring children to. “I try to be a good communicator and approach all that I do in my job with an open heart and open mind,” she explains.
Much of Inoke’s job involves meeting with community, creating cultural workshops, learning from Elders and Wisdom Keepers, and being a support for families. Working for an aboriginal non-profit organization helps her remain successful at her job. “I have an amazing boss,” she explains. “There are no walls. I am able to stay focused on children and not politics, and I can approach my work with an open heart and an open mind. I’m able to get into the community, sit down and listen to stories and feel like I can make a change. The cultural aspect is huge and so is passion. I get to go to work and create cultural programming that means something.”