Every year, CBC Manitoba releases their Future 40 list, which recognizes an “outstanding group of 40 individuals under 40 years of age” who are making “Manitoba’s future a little bit brighter.” In 2020, many of the individuals selected were University of Winnipeg (U of W) students and alums. Among them are Sasha Amaya, Michael Barkman, Tammy Wolfe, Amanda Hallett and Dorota Blumczynska.
Sasha Amaya, who obtained a bachelor of arts in philosophy, literature and the history of ideas from the U of W, works in the areas of “dance, choreography, sound and spatial design,” according to the biography on her personal website. She also holds a master of philosophy in architecture and urban studies from the University of Cambridge.
While Amaya was nominated by others, she notes, “I think it’s so important that this recognition is progressive in the sense that you can nominate yourself. You don’t have to have a certain discipline. If you don’t have a community or have the right connections, you can still be considered,” Amaya says.
“Being part of that kind of recognition, I feel so much more positive, and it means so much more to me,” she says.
In terms of her career, Amaya says her experience at the U of W helped prepare her to do things where there was not already a preset method.
“That influenced the way I work and the kind of projects I feel are possible to take on,” she says. Amaya’s work, ranging from opera to writing to choreography to film, has been shown or published across North America and Europe. She also volunteered with organizations like Cluster Festival and the Jane Goodall Institute.
Another recognized individual was Tammy Wolfe, who is taking her master of arts in Indigenous governance at the U of W. She focuses on issues surrounding missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG2S). Wolfe also holds bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees from the U of W.
“That (MMIWG2S) work to me is very important, because I lost my mother almost 20 years ago,” Wolfe says.
“This is something that’s been inside of me: to want to impact change, to try to do something because of the circumstances surrounding my mother’s death,” she says. Wolfe adds that because of her lived experience, her work is more than just a project.
In addition to being a graduate student, she is a teacher and owns a consulting firm offering services such as cultural education, curriculum and policy development and business consultation.
When asked about the importance of young people being leaders, Wolfe draws from her cultural background.
“Being an Indigenous person, we look at the seven generations ahead and we look at the seven generations behind,” she says.
“I’m glad to see that people are looking more to the youth, because they’re really the future.”
The complete CBC Manitoba Future 40 list can be found at bit.ly/3n9VZHI.
Note: The text of this article has been updated to clarify that, while Amaya has praised the self-nomination option, she herself did not self-nominate.
Published in Volume 75, Number 13 of The Uniter (January 7, 2021)