Name: Alexandra Jarrett
Nicknames: Girlie, AJ, Alex
Tattoos: 5 & counting
Piercings: 5 currently I've been pierced 18 times all PG lol
Children: 3 & 1 Cat
Parental Goals: Children who actively make the world a better place.
Born: Meadow Lake, SK
Raised: Eagles Lake First Nation ( Canoe Lake Cree First Nation)
Ethnicity: Cree, Metis, and Heinz 57
Favourite Food: Pizza
Favourite Music: I'm eclectic, but my man Yellowsky is dope
Favourite Beverage: Dr. Pepper/ French Vanilla with Espresso Shot
2) Helping others pursue their purpose
3) Environmental revival and preservation.
I’ve always appreciated the arts in all its forms I absolutely adore all of the work that goes into creating a photograph. My favourites are creative projects and photojournalism with a purpose. I was gifted my first camera and it has helped me overcome so many barriers I created in myself. I had been wanting to take pictures for a very long time I just didn’t have the means to invest in the equipment. That first camera was a Canon Rebel I started going out and taking pictures as soon as I got it. There are a lot of ways to go about getting into photography. My first piece of advice is to just start. I could have let it hold me back that I didn’t have formal education in Photography. I could not have pursued, because my camera was just a ‘Rebel’. I made a decision that a good photographer can take a great photograph with any camera. So I just started.
The woman who’s been a true inspiration in most of my life is my grandmother Cecile Marie Jarrett. My grandma always provided me with the one thing every child needs, someone to listen. She always listened to me and I shared my entire heart with her. My grandmother is a retired Social Worker and she along with my mother have helped me throughout everything that went wrong in my life. My grandmother never judged me or condemned me and always provided me with logic and wisdom. I have watched my grandma overcome so much in her life and for that she is always my first inspiration.
I was raised by my mother Lorrie Anne Jarrett. To this day she has my back in everything I do. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be the mother I am today. I had my first son at 18 and my mom made sure I had everything I needed. To this day she makes sure me and my children are never without. She is an incredible grandmother to my children, much like my grandma is incredible to me. For this I am forever grateful for her and the relationship we've built together. My father lived further away from me growing up. I used to go visit him in the summer. He lives in the NorthWest Territories. If you know anything about that region of Canada you'll know that in the summer there is a period of 24 hours of light and in the winter there is a period of 24 hours of dark. I remember when I visited in the Summer wondering why he put us to bed so early. I remember living with him for a year when I was 13 and not even realizing how dark it was in the winter. I have siblings through him and I'm proud of who they are becoming. My Dad didn't get to have as much of a hand in raising me, but I can appreciate how well he's raised my siblings. He's somewhat of a private guy so I won't post his name and photo out of respect.
My Chapan Louis Opikokew was a huge part of my child hood. Pictured below is me sitting on his lap. When I used to visit him, he would sit me on his lap and make me recite 1 to 10 in Cree. He was a funny man and I remember how important he made me feel. I also remember how much he used to tease me, he had a sense of humor like no other. He passed on when I was 10, I remember when my mother got the call. I remember knowing what the call was about before my mother told me. There are many things I didn't get a chance to learn from him including cultural teachings. It is for him that I am proud to be Cree. He had a journey that inspires me to break the chains intergenerational trauma can hold on our families. I can recite 1 to 10 now in Cree now and I hope he's proud of me.
I grew up very torn between two cultures never really understanding my identity. When you grow up with two different backgrounds it can be hard for others to understand why it can affect you so much. Now that I am at a stage in my life where I am understanding that I define myself it is a lot easier to talk about. I understand now more than ever that the only true barriers are the ones that exist in your own mind. As an indigenous woman I understand the statistics and I understand the stereotypes. As a white passing Indigenous person I also understand the importance I have to my people. To stand up and be a positive example of my community and to recognize injustice for what it is. I choose personally to focus on empowering those around me and associating with like-minded individuals. It is more important to me to be an example and to bring light to those indigenous people who are making differences in their communities.
A huge struggle I’ve witnessed throughout my life does not stem from the stereotypes we place on each other, but from what we believe about ourselves. I think that low self-esteem is a huge epidemic in our world. I remember what it was like to be a teenager and not be comfortable in my own skin. What helped me tremendously was associating myself with people who have the results I want in life. I read books that were going to help me with my issues. Where you are going to be in the next five years depends on the top 5 people you associate with and the books you read. So choose wisely.
I started the Indigenous Portrait Project as a way to search through what I knew about my own visual identity. I know that there are all walks of life in Indigenous communities so I feel it’s important for people to challenge what they believe Indigenous means. I’ve asked people in my communities to share their stories and I offer to take a few headshots for my blog. I did not place a deadline on this project and it is on-going. I really hope to open a few minds and help myself on my own journey of self-discovery.