Philomina Ballantyne, her first name is a combination of her late great-grandmother Philomene and a love of Conswella. Her passion for Social Work grew from a love of helping people and finding solutions.
Entering the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), Philomina felt good vibes all around, the professors were encouraging and everyone worked together. She was given agendas, good timelines for completing assignments, and everything was organized. Traveling an hour to and from campus, from Rosthern to Saskatoon, Philomena has no complaints about her academic journey.
At Philomina’s convocation her professors, Danny Musqua and John Sealy, joked about their Culture Camp experience. She took her late grandmother’s camper to the event while everyone else brought tents. It was raining lots so she ended up being the smart cookie, classmates were using her visor as a cover and some even stayed in the camper with her. Even though today it is mandatory for students to bring tents only, Philomina is still remembered as the only one to ever bring a camper.
Elders had a huge impact on her academic career as well. They shared their knowledge when Philomina needed it, she entered her first sweat lodge with the culture camp and she says the experience was beyond beautiful.
“I didn’t really know too much about my culture at that time, and it was the elders that were the counsellors there, and they would share their knowledge about the sweet grass, sage, sweat lodge and the colours of the broad cloths,” she says.
Philomina has been a Social Worker for 18 years as of October 1998 when she graduated. She now works at the Montreal Lake Child and Family Agency.
“I love working with people, I love helping,” she says.
Philomina Ballantyne says she is in the right field, time flew when she was in school and it helped her end up exactly where she needed to.