Kendra Weenie is a Cree woman from Sweetgrass First Nation. She grew up single-parented, on welfare, with minimal opportunity for success. It wasn’t until she became involved in sports, that she developed confidence, work ethic, and a sense of identity. Sports have always been a part of Kendra’s life, from being a college volleyball player, coach, and provincial program coordinator. Sports and culture helped to keep her motivated to complete her Education degree, and heal from past trauma. Kendra is a single mother and survivor of domestic violence. Her daughter was only 8 days old when she was nearly beaten to death by her former partner. After this traumatic experience, she realized that she needed to focus on taking care of herself so that she could heal and be a good role model for her daughter. Kendra now travels the country sharing her story of survival and healing and promotes self care through youth and women's workshops.
Kendra talks about the challenges of growing up in poverty, being single parented, and having an absent father. These were all contributing factors that led to her entering into an abusive relationship. She also talks about how her life changed after giving birth to her daughter Kalayah. Most importantly, she explains how she was able to take control of her life and learn the importance of self love.
Click on the link below to hear about how Kendra was able to survive and move forward from an abusive relationship.
In May, 2018, the province of Saskatchewan released a report referencing Saskatchewan’s domestic violence rates along with recommendations to address the findings. Based on the findings, the Leader Post reported that Saskatchewan has double the national average of domestic violence.
A key finding is that a good first step is raising people’s awareness of domestic violence within intimate relationships how individuals can safely deal with it.
It was also stated that educating kids at a young age can help break the intergenerational cycles of violence.
Kendra was invited into our middle years classrooms to share her own story of domestic violence, a story told with raw emotion and genuine feelings. She shared the hurt, the shame, the desperation but also the power of hope, faith and resilience. She shared very specific strategies that she began to implement into her life to change her path and allow her authentic self to shine through, giving her the courage to live the life she deserved, without violence.
The take away message was one of strength, resilience and hope. Our young people heard that it is never okay. There is a way out. It is never okay.
Kendra’s courage to share her story will inspire, motivate and perhaps change the path for some of the young people who have the opportunity to hear it. It is never okay. She lived the way out.
Sean Lockwood, Principal (Blaine Lake Composite School)
Kendra presented to our students at Blaine Lake Community School, she connected with all of the youth and educated them about the importance of what healthy relationships look like, by explaining her story and some of the personal challenges she had in relationships. Her presentation was very powerful, she is passionate about helping youth and she really impacted our female First Nations students. I would recommend any school to have Kendra come in to present to a middle school or high school.
Kendra and youth from Boys & Girls Clubs of Saskatoon