Tansi!! My name is Rhonda Head and I am from the Opaskwayak
Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba located in the Treaty 5
Territory. I am the youngest of six siblings and my parents are
the late John Alfred Head and Hagar Head.
I am pleased to be able to share my journey of trials and
tribulations throughout my life with you. I have been fortunate
enough to be able to achieve one of my goals – to write a book
about myself, my autobiography. This has given me the opportunity
to continue to grow and share my experiences with you.
I grew up on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation with my family. I
remember playing outside in the wilderness and not having any
supervision. I thought this was the most amazing time when I was
growing up. The connection to the land and nature was a part of
my childhood and is always a good memory for me. I remember
all the other kids in the neighbourhood were right there with me
playing in the woods. Little did I know that we were not being
nurtured or properly supervised. And as I grew older, when I
spoke about my childhood with other members of Opaskwayak
from different areas, they grew up the exact same way. We were
left alone on the weekends, there was partying and we pretty well
looked after ourselves growing up, and we thought it was normal.
It was certainly not my parents fault for the way we grew up, as
they both were shipped off to residential school, and the traumas
they faced haunted them for the rest of their lives.
I always had this longing to leave the reserve and live in big
cities. I just didn't see myself living on the reserve all my life. I had
dreams of travelling, of meeting new people, and just wanting to
leave. I made it a reality and left Opaskwayak when I was 16 years
and moved to Winnipeg, MB. I completed my grade 12 from
the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, and went onto College
in Toronto, Ontario, fulfilling a childhood dream of attending
Fashion School and living in Toronto. This is where I started my
vocal lessons with an amazing vocal teacher who believed in me.
When I graduated from college I moved back to Manitoba. I
attended the University of Winnipeg and that's when things turned
a different route. My hearing started going, I couldn't retain any
information that I was reading and I started gaining weight. My body
began to swell. Because of my sister's impatience with me when I
couldn't hear what she was saying, I went to an Audiologist to get my
hearing tested. From there I was referred to get an MRI. The results
were devastating, I had a brain tumour and my world as I knew it
would never be the same again. My world was turned upside down.
It took me a over a year to recover. The illness taught me that
life is precious and it gave me motivation to follow my heart and
dreams. It also taught me that to give up is the easiest thing in
the world to do.
I've been a musician all my life; since I was eight years old I
started playing piano, and when I was in Junior and Senior High I
was in the school band playing the clarinet and alto-clarinet. I now
sing with an amazing choir one hour from my community, and
recorded three award-winning CDs and working on the forth one.
This circle has allowed me to cross paths with some amazing people
from all over the world. The music road has been good to me.
I'm excited to share my journey, experiences, trials and
tribulations. The path has been met with twists and turns,
mountains and hills, and all kinds of weather. I hope to inspire,
move and motivate. My journey continues and is not over yet.
Kinanaskimotin – I am thankful.