Anyone who knows Michael Moses knows that he dreams big.
He’s a compilation of Indigenous and political activism, entrepreneurism, creativity, teaching and being an active learner. He’s a Secwépemc and Nlaka’pamux father, son, grandson, partner, and, no doubt, friend to many.
It’s no surprise that when running into him on the street one day, another person also walked by and said, “Hi, Michael!”
Born in Merritt, Moses moved to Williams Lake when he was 10, where he has spent the last 33 years (on and off, he noted). The entrepreneur has mainly worked in the tech world, only recently completing Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business program in Digital Innovation and Leadership. He is also currently a city councillor.
So why the sudden turn to politics?
Moses noticed the city’s dire need to build strong relationships with Indigenous people. He began attending weekly city council meetings for the next year, crediting his many mentors — current and previous chiefs, MLAs, mayors and city councillors, to name a few – for guiding him into the political world.
His time spent volunteering with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Friendship Society and the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society also helped prepare him.
You see, if he was going to run for city councillor, he wanted to understand political issues and be effective.
“A lot of the topics that are really near and dear to my heart, I made sure that I could represent them well.”
Moses was sworn in on Nov 1. 2022.
When asked if the transition into politics was intimidating — with politicians so often held on pedestals — Moses quickly realized that “these are people just like us, just like technology students, just like journalists.”
“They all at one point made a decision that they were going to get more involved in the community and add politics on to what they were already doing.”
Of course, politics don’t come without its share of hardship. With undertones of racism, misogyny and a lack of inclusivity, Moses said he’s seen too many Indigenous delegates vacate their positions early. As such, he has been working on a new society to create a support network for Indigenous candidates and officials.
“It’s hard because a lot of these doors appear to be closed at a glance, and now my duty being on the other side of the door, is to show with big neon lights that these doors are not closed, they are not locked.
Not only are [Indigenous people] allowed to be in here, but we’re welcome in here, and we belong in here.”
The society will provide a support system for Indigenous candidates to run, win and be effective, increasing representation. By the next election, his goal is to have an Indigenous candidate running in every city council country-wide. He encouraged interested candidates to reach out to him.
The future society isn’t his only dream, and phenomenally, Moses turns many of his dreams into reality, something that can be difficult to do. Smaller projects he has on the go include a Spotify and YouTube playlist that he’ll update daily with catchy Indigenous tunes and a podcast celebrating Indigeneity. The podcast will be an extension of his already thriving project on Instagram, where he posted a daily video educating people on Indigenous topics in June.
For Moses, when it comes to activism, he wants to spread positivity while never dismissing the trauma.
“I have the trauma. I have the anger. I have the sadness. But I have to choose very carefully where and when I portray those and how.”
When asked why, Moses said that as a First Nations leader, he doesn’t want to portray or let Indigenous people be defined by anger.
“I’m trying to show people that we can be defined by the goodness as well … There will always be the darkness. That’s there permanently now in our history books, right? But we can be both, just like everybody else.”
With his work as a city councillor and spreading Indigenous vibrancy, Moses is diligent with his time management. This includes any downtime he has, which he laughed and said usually involves planning more projects. His greatest inspiration for his work, though, is his daughter, mother and grandmother, and he said caring for them is the biggest pride and honour of his life.
Moses noted that if only self-serving, he would be reading books and making websites, not working in politics. To overcome hardship, the downsides to being a politician, racism or other nerves he gets with public speaking, he remembers his why.
“This is for my daughter, my mother, my grandmother, my elders and my ancestors. Then there’s no room for me to not give my best.”
A lifelong learner, next to his desk is a large stack of books, which he hopes will turn into his own Indigenous library one day.
“I swear the stack grows faster than I can get through.”
Among his favourites are books by Jody Wilson-Raybould, Bruce McIver and Waubgeshig Rice.
In the meantime, his newest business, Unceded Media, culminates all of his skills. Unceded Media will help Indigenous-owned businesses increase their effectiveness and efficiency by adopting new technologies, such as an online presence. It will also include assisting non-Indigenous companies wanting to improve their Indigenous relations and be culturally safe.
“This isn’t about my comfort or my self-goals. This is about figuring out what’s best for a group of people … I’ve recognized that amplifying my voice amplifies everyone’s voice that I’m trying to represent, and I’m trying to help.”
When asked advice he’d give to others, he said to stay learning.
“The dream is to help other people dream.”
Moses can be contacted at uncededmedia.com or michaelmoses.ca.
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