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Robert Animikii Horton
November - 2008
Windspeaker: What one quality do you most value in a friend?
Robert Animikii Horton: Integrity. Integrity is everything.
W: What is it that really makes you mad?
R.A.H.: Honestly? When our young men do not respect our women. One cannot respect seven generations forward, or the future, if they cannot respect those who make each possible.
W: When are you at your happiest?
R.A.H.: I am at my happiest when I know I’ve helped, in some way, to create positive changes for our youth and communities. We’re standing within winds of change and this wind is at our backs. All it takes is a choice.
W: What one word best describes you when you are at your worst?
R.A.H.: Motivated. I find any sort of challenge a catalyst to motivate and to focus.
W: What one person do you most admire and why?
R.A.H.: The late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. He was a man of vision and initiative – a political organizer and activist who fought for social justice. I promised myself early on that these were the footsteps I would follow and this was the example I wanted to live for my own people.
W: What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do?
R.A.H.: Probably move away from best friends and family to pursue my dreams.
W: What is your greatest accomplishment?
R.A.H.: Choosing education and political/community involvement over darker roads I began going down when I was younger. This choice, alone, probably saved my life.
W: What one goal remains out of reach?
R.A.H.: My Ph.D. But it is only out of reach for the time being.
W: If you couldn’t do what you’re doing today, what would you be doing?
R.A.H.: I would probably continue learning my language (Anishinaabemowin) and decide to be a language instructor.
W: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
R.A.H.: Never separate the life you live from the words you speak.
W: Did you take it?
R.A.H.: Absolutely! And I live it everyday.
W: How do you hope to be remembered?
R.A.H.: I hope to be remembered as an activist, first and foremost, who lived with integrity, conviction, and vision; someone who always put the well being of his People as priority and never strayed from this. I want to leave a legacy.
Robert (Bebaamweyaazh) Animikii Horton, 26, is Anishinaabe (Marten Clan) from Rainy River First Nations, Manitou Rapids Ontario. He is one of twelve exceptional young people chosen to be National Aboriginal Role Models in a program sponsored by the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO). The scholar, activist and future leader is completing his Master’s degree in Sociology and has recently developed a First Nation Student Support Education Framework called The Gakino Amawaagan Support Wheel. Horton is a sociologist, scholar and political activist, internationally recognized orator, published writer, polemicist, and spoken-word poet. Horton has received the 2008 "Heroes of our Time" Awards from the Assembly of First Nations, Honourary Lifetime Induction to Alpha Kappa Delta (International Honors Society for Sociologists), and recently was the recipient of statements of commendation for activism, First Nation leadership, and youth advocacy from P.C. Members of Parliament, the Hon. Joe Comuzzi and the Hon. Tony Clement.
Horton says, “It’s more than possible to have strong roots and strong wings – be the change you wish to see. Defy convention. Hope, dream, imagine and inspire!”
Caption for photo: Robert stands near Kay-nah-chi-wah-nung (Long Sault Rapids), an area along the Rainy River featuring the largest concentration of traditional burial mounds in Canada. Horton’s family, along with many others, were forced to move from Long Sault to Manitou Rapids in 1914 and 1915, breaking the agreements of Treaty #3, which Robert’s ancestor, Chief Mawedopenais, helped negotiate in 1873.
Caption for photo: Robert stands near Kaynahchiwahnung (Long Sault Rapids), an area along the Rainy River featuring the largest concentration of traditional burial mounds in Canada. Horton’s family, along with many others, were forced to move from Rainy River to Manitou Rapids in 1914 and 1915, breaking the agreements of Treaty #3, which Robert’s ancestor, Chief Mawedopenais, negotiated in 1873.
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