Interview with Operator in Training - Josee Street
1. What made you start your journey toward becoming a water operator?
I’ve always had a passion for working in the environment and when I got my OIT certification in college, I decided to honor a woman’s traditional role as a Water Keeper. Creator has continuously guided me back to the field and now I am thriving in the HUB program at OFNTSC.
2. How has your experience been with OFNTSC?
I wake up with a sense of pride. I am always thinking of new ways to incorporate my culture into the technical side. Connecting with the operators, working with water, and helping the communities is a way for me to heal spiritually while also giving back. The HUB team has made me feel safe and cared for and always treat me like family. Things are constantly changing in regards to the issues we face, and the HUB grows to adapt along with it which is refreshing to be a part of.
3. What are some of your goals moving forward?
Right now, I am studying for my Class 1 Water Treatment to continue moving forward on the technical side. Personally, I am enrolled in Ojibwe language classes and ASL to improve my interpersonal relations in the communities. Even further down the road, I hope to start an educational program that educates and supports young Indigenous women on why it’s important for them to become water operators and environmental advocates in their communities.
4. What advice do you have for others thinking about becoming an operator?
Working in the water field is rewarding in ways that you won’t understand until you get into the job. If you keep an open mind and listen to your intuition, you’ll find yourself right where you need to be. There is a reason you are considering becoming an operator; even if it’s not the end goal for you, being an operator is an amazing stepping stone into many other opportunities.
5. Is there anything else you would like to share?
My Spirit name is Waapi Miikwan Iskwew which means White Feather Woman and my family is from Marten Falls First Nation. Prior to joining OFNTSC, I worked as a Forest Fire Ranger in Northern Ontario. Recently, I started a Conventional Water Treatment Beading Series where each earring set is modeled after the steps in a water treatment plant. The goal of the project is to visually educate people on the process of getting clean water. You can follow along on my small business Instagram page – @jojibwe.