Stroll the stroll: Sudburian featured at Indigenous trend present

Hailey Sutherland walked the runway 4 instances throughout a trend arts competition, an occasion centered on Indigenous-made trend, textiles and crafts

It was 2017, and Hailey Sutherland was residing in Windsor when her father turned in poor health. She felt she wanted to return to her dwelling group, Constance Lake, an Oji-Cree First Nation positioned close to Hearst in Treaty 9 territory.

He’s higher now, she stated, however that transfer has modified the course of her life in numerous methods.

Now, not solely is she pursuing an schooling that can help the folks of her group, but in addition, she is pushing herself to be an instance, to characterize her nation within the arts, and in well being care.

That implies that whereas she is elevating a baby, a gorgeous three-year-old daughter, and learning Psychology at Laurentian College, hoping to pursue a graduate diploma, she additionally discovered the time to stroll the catwalk in 4 completely different trend exhibits on the Indigenous Style Arts Pageant.

The competition, which ran June 9 to 12, introduced Indigenous-made trend, textiles and crafts at Harbourfront Heart in Toronto.

Sutherland walked for prime profile designers like Metis artists Evan Ducharme and Amy Mallouf, in addition to Lesley Hampton from Temagami First Nation, and Celeste Pedri-Spade of Lac des milles lacs First Nation. Pedri-Spade was previously a professor at Laurentian and lived in Sudbury for a while, one thing the 2 girls bonded over on the present.

Sutherland utilized solely 5 minutes earlier than the deadline, and he or she informed she hesitated for a lot of causes: she did not really feel comfy in her physique but, nonetheless on her postpartum journey, and moreover, she stated she grew up by no means seeing anybody who regarded like her in trend, and felt she would not even be thought-about. Then, to her shock, she was chosen to stroll the runway.

She stated she was nervous, however it was when she arrived there that the true spirit of the occasion got here by means of.

“It was so welcoming,” stated Sutherland. “There was a lot range in sizes, in pores and skin shade, and it simply felt so nice. And it got here collectively abruptly, and it was very emotional.”

She stated she felt the welcome deep in her spirit.

“I at all times adored older photos of when my dad was younger, or when my kôhkom (cree for ‘grandmother’) was younger, and I at all times questioned, ‘why is not this inspired, why is not it within the media as we speak?’ We’re stunning folks, and we’ve so many abilities and items.”

She stated seeing the expertise backstage left her slightly shaky, however the second her flip to stroll got here, she pushed it apart.

“I attempted to place good ideas into my head,” stated Sutherland. “Rising up, I used to be fortunate sufficient to have my tradition and custom from my kôhkom and I used to be at all times taught to at all times maintain form ideas in your head, as a result of that’s your entire bodily being; it’s your physique and also you need to be form to it. And that is what I did, I bought out of my consolation zone and carried out.”

She stated it was a lift of confidence that got here at a time of want.

“It gave me a lift, informed me I can maintain going,” she stated. Her research had been troublesome, particularly through the pandemic and with the continued insolvency points at Laurentian College.

Greater than something, she stated she started to endure “imposter syndrome,” the sensation that she wasn’t sufficient, that she was pretending to be one thing she could not be. “However this was the arrogance increase I wanted to maintain on going.”

The explanation she selected psychology is rooted in curiosity, in addition to household. Sutherland’s uncle battled schizophrenia, and he or she informed he died “on account of well being discrimination.”

She stated he spent a full week making an attempt to get a health care provider’s appointment, with any physician prepared to see him, however he was denied. “Indigenous folks must strive tougher to get the well being care that they want,” stated Sutherland, “And I simply need to break that barrier.”

She want to focus her work with the youth of her group, not solely as a result of she did not really feel she was capable of have “huge desires” as a baby, however she is aware of that’s nonetheless the case. When Sutherland went again to Constance Lake to look after her father, she was capable of work as a instructor there, working with a small class of kids in Grade 5 and 6.

“I observed that there are loads of suppressed emotions that I believe little ones have once they cannot reside out their huge emotions, once they’re not inspired or supported,” she stated. “There’s a lot expertise there, they’re concerned about gaming, and so they’re concerned about dancing, they’re concerned about increased schooling, and that was additionally me rising up.”

She stated she did not really feel like anybody in her group had executed what she needed to do, or might help or information her. “Indigenous youngsters must have the group collectively and be supported, however it’s exhausting due to monetary points or intergenerational trauma, and I simply need to assist and information them.”

She stated that she beloved her time working with the kids, however quickly realized she was restricted in her capacity to assist them.

“I spotted that I haven’t got the schooling, I did not have my full potential,” Sutherland stated. “And I spotted that loads of the instances like I used to be pushed again due to this trauma, as a result of I’m a grandchild of residential faculty survivors and 60s Scoop survivors.”

She stated that she thought-about herself very fortunate to have her household, and proud to have the alternatives to talk her reality.

“For the group, I simply need to strengthen the voice of each particular person,” she stated.

She would usually inform her college students, “you could be something, you are able to do something, I imagine in you,” she stated, and whereas some could not have believed her, she wanted them to listen to it. “One among my college students handed away, and I want they bought extra of a message and encouragement from the group; I simply need them to not really feel alone.”

She says she needs to inform younger folks the identical phrases she needed to listen to.

“There could also be days the place you are feeling prefer it’s not attainable, and it is okay to cry, to consider these emotions, as a result of it is exhausting to really feel like there is no tomorrow,” Sutherland stated. “However there might be gentle, there might be solar. You could have abilities that the world will like to see and admire. You might be beloved, though you do not hear it on daily basis. It might take a couple of months or years to see progress in your coronary heart, however know that you are able to do it.”

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the various communities of Sudbury, particularly the susceptible or marginalized, together with the Black, Indigenous, newcomer and Francophone communities, in addition to 2SLGBTQ+ and problems with the downtown core.

Scroll to Top