Indigenous Education

Stay the Course Speaker Series: Haven Stumpf

May 26, 2021

Inspiring stories from RRC’s Indigenous Alumni

How do successful people get to where they are? What did that journey look like? What did they learn and how did they stay the course? What does it mean to be an Indigenous student in post-secondary?

The Stay the Course speaker series is a hand from one generation to the next, hosted by Carla Kematch, Manager, Truth and Reconciliation and Community & Engagement. Every month, incredible RRC Indigenous Alumni share their experiences on their journey to success. Advancing Indigenous achievement at RRC means listening to Indigenous stories. This is just one of the many ways we can embed the efforts of Truth and Reconciliation in our daily lives.

Haven Stumpf, Executive Director, Urban Circle Training Centre Inc.

My name is Haven Stumpf and my spirit name is White Eagle Woman from the Deer Clan. I carry the Sundance Colours of Blue, White, Yellow and Red. I am a 55-years-old, First Nations woman whose family roots are from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, MB. I was born, raised and lived all my life in the North End of Winnipeg. The highlight of my life is raising my son as a single mother, who is now 36-years-old, and being grandmother of two beautiful grandchildren who are now 13 and 15-years-old. They teach me daily and allow me to continue to grow and learn the precious “life lessons” that arise in my life journey.

Our family, like many others have been affected by the historical genocide in Canada – the Residential School System. Our family has been stripped of our Indigenous culture, language and identity. I myself have been stripped of a mother, a loving nurturing mother who just didn’t have the skills of being a mother. Today, our family is still affected by these systems as I raise my two grandchildren, avoiding falling into the same cycles of systematic oppression.

I am now entering into my 26th year with Urban Circle Training Centre Inc. and am currently the Executive Director. I have come full circle as I am a graduate of Urban Circle’s Banking Business Retail Program in 1996. I started off as the receptionist at Urban Circle and have worked my way into my position today with continuous education, workshops with professional and personal growth while working full-time. I have always worked a part-time job to meet my financial obligations as I was always considered the “working poor.” It wasn’t until five years ago I left my part-time job as a support worker with a CFS agency and focused all my energy into Urban Circle.

I have been taught the importance of the Seven Teachings and the Medicine Wheel Teachings by the many Elders (particularly the late Elder Stella Blackbird and Elder Audrey Bone) whom I have met throughout my journey. Learning the importance of these teachings and beliefs have brought balance and wellness in my life. It is difficult at times to continue to walk this good life as these teachings are new and sometimes the old coping is the one I know and the easiest to do. The “wellness” that is displayed is like a domino effect and now hope it continues to grow within my children’s lives and also onto my extended families lives.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

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