Ray John Jr, Turtle Clan, Oneida Nation, recently visited Stratford Northwestern Secondary School to speak to students about family, well being, respect, and believing in yourself.
Ray John Jr. has been in the education field for almost 20 years and works as a child and youth worker with high-risk students. A proud father of two boys, Ray uses a value system based on family as the foundation of his speaking engagements in order to help guide people to this beautiful way of life.
Through the creation of a personal medicine shield, his message, based on aboriginal culture and teachings, focuses on the importance of establishing balance in all things by demonstrating respect for others, modelling positive leadership qualities amongst peers, being a good role model for younger students as well as looking after each other and our surroundings. His message is expressed in music, dance and classroom discussions to bring an entertaining and meaningful opportunity to reflect on how we treat each other, and how others might be affected by our actions and words.
“As humans we do enough to ourselves, enough damage, that we need to look at ourselves in a more positive light. Because now, with so many protests and so many things going against humanity, we need to stop that. So if even one person got something out of it today I’ve done my job” – Ray John Jr.
Ray was initially invited to present in front of the Native Studies class offered at SNWSS, but was then given the opportunity to speak during multiple periods to all staff and students who wished to attend.
“We know that Ray’s visit will be a meaningful experience for the students because he brings such strong, positive messages about knowing yourself and about walking your path in this life with integrity.” – SNSS Teacher Laurie Craig.