By Daniel Mendoza
CURVE LAKE FIRST NATION – Chochi Knott grew up off-reserve and has now made an effort as an adult to get back to the roots of her culture, traditions and beliefs to find a connection to home.
“I frequently attend organized community events, ceremony, volunteer where I can, I am involved with community sports,” says Knott, 29. “I am a member of the Curve Lake Education committee and when I graduated from University I was employed by Curve Lake First Nation as an Education Officer for the remainder of the school year. I am proud to be a member of Curve Lake First Nation and continue to strive at being an active community member.”
Knott has been employed by the Union of Ontario Indians since September 2009 and works out of the Curve Lake satellite office as the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Worker for the Southeast and Southwest regions. She brings a dynamic vibe to her workshops and makes a connection with the younger moms.
“I think today young women can regain or maintain their identity and self-esteem by nurturing themselves holistically,” says Knott. “Making sure that all parts of their being are receiving attention and protection, this being their physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Life gets very busy and sometimes we lose sight of what is really important. Surrounding yourself with good people that help make you feel special and know who you are so that they can help you grow and consistently be proud of who you are.“
Knott says that she’s had many influential people in her life who she has gathered teachings from, but her dad has been the most consistent role model for her.
“My dad dropped out of school when he was 14 and worked as hard as he could to achieve what he has in his life and create a safe and nurturing environment for his family so we can achieve anything we put our minds to,” she says. “My father has been a single parent to three children and the resiliency he has taught us and determination that no matter what happens in life you have the ability to create whatever happiness and achievements you desire. No one in my family had completed post-secondary education and I am proud to say that because of my upbringing, I was the first to be able to complete University.”
Knott’s mother gave her the influence to travel and she has two special aunties who have helped her with her spiritual path.
“I have always believed in myself. I have always been an independent person and if I wanted something I worked my hardest to achieve it. I don’t believe in quitting or giving up. Strong goals and positive thinking have always led me to overcome challenges that I have faced along the way. Things can always be worse and it’s important to always be grateful for what you have.”
She says that she understands how people feel that bad times outweigh the good.
“Fill your life with love and special people that give you all those wonderful experiences that make each day such a gift to have. Laughing is good medicine. Be strong to know when to say no and stick up for what you believe in. Live each day to the fullest and seize any opportunity you can,” says Knott. “We never stop learning and experiencing so don’t stress about feeling unsure or lost. Everyone is on their own path and that is what makes it the right one. Be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions and think differently. Always believe in yourself, hold your head up high and be proud of the woman you are.”