When Crystal Rain Harry graduated from the University of British Columbia, she never envisioned the search for a job would be quite as difficult as it turned out to be.
Crystal Harry Rain, First Nations Government Intern, Tsilquot’in National Government
Harry, a mother of four, was living in Kelowna, B.C. with her family after receiving her Bachelors of Arts in History with a minor in Indigenous Studies. Having worked contract jobs before, she thought the process of starting her career would be smoother than it turned out be. Her lack of work experience began to hinder her ability to land the jobs she really wanted. The process began to weigh on her.
“I was so excited to look for a job after graduating,” said Harry. “But when I started to miss out on opportunities because of my lack of work experience, I began to feel pretty discouraged. It affected my morale and my confidence. It was a very tough position to be in and I felt my options were starting to become limited.”
Although the job search became tough at times for Harry, she did not give up on trying to find her way to a career path that would lead her to success. As she began to expand her search for employment opportunities, Harry landed on the Nenqay Deni Internship position available with the Tsilhqot’in National Government in Williams Lake, B.C.
“When I saw the posting for this internship I thought it was a perfect fit,” said Harry. “There is a lot going on here. The Tsilhqot’in Government is ahead of the curve on many unique projects and the treaty system, and I wanted to be a part of the organization.”
The First Nations Internship program, which is funded through a partnership between Northern Development and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, provides funding for central and northern First Nations governments or tribal councils to host and mentor an intern for a 12-month period. The program provides participants insight into the wide range of rewarding careers available within First Nations governments. The Tsilhqot’in National Government has many opportunities for Harry to
gain the experience she needs, while giving her a chance to contribute to her community in more ways than one.
Choosing this internship meant more than just the work experience for Harry, she saw an opportunity to raise her family in their home community of Soda Creek, B.C. The chance to learn her cultural language, heritage, community values, and being able to pass them along to her children was an opportunity she could not pass up.
“I always wanted to come home to experience my culture and learn the language,” said Harry. “You can’t do that when you are living away from the community. This is very important to me because my children have not been exposed to language learning. I would like to be able to teach them some of that as well as our culture and heritage because it is a lifelong skill to have.”
While she learns the language, Harry is also involved in an important project as part of her internship. The First Nation government is working towards bringing a Tsilhqot’in language radio station to the community. The station aims to bring history, heritage and language to the community and the younger generations.
“It is very exciting that we will have our own radio station that is community based,” said Harry. “Language is the backbone of any culture. The youth and the children are the ones who are going to bring the language back to our communities. Some of them can understand it but they can’t speak it as well. The radio station and the language
project here at TNG would bridge that gap and help make the language strong.”
Harry hopes that with this internship under her belt, she will be able to continue her studies in a Masters program and find a job that will be both fulfilling and fruitful as a career. She may not know quite yet what that path may be ahead of her, but she is optimistic about her future.
“I have many opportunities here with the Tsilhqot’in government,” said Harry. “From economic development to governance, there are a lot of different things I hope to learn and refine my skills. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute in a meaningful way and learn the skills I need to be successful in the future.”
Learn more about the First Nations Government Internship Program:www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca/first-nations-government-internship