Maureen Awasish fell in love with heavy-duty equipment when she was a young girl going to work with her dad at the local mine. Few people expected a woman to be doing that type of work, but that is what Awashish has always wanted to do. After taking a 900-hour vocational course at the Sabtuan centre, Awashish is now a heavy equipment operator.

Unfortunately, Awashish said that when she started working on sites she was discriminated against because she was a woman. Her foreman frequently told her she didn’t belong on the job site but at home. But she stuck it out and was able to work with her husband Raymond, which helped build her confidence.

Awashish’s foreman eventually apologized after realizing that just because she was a woman didn’t mean she couldn’t do the job. Awashish is now an inspiration to other Cree women. Her motto is that, “If I can do it so can you.” She regularly supports other women in their efforts to get into the program.

Awashish has since obtained her class one truck-driving permit. Maureen is currently hoping¬†¬† that the Plan Nord project will mean more employment opportunities for her and her husband. Awashish’s story is an example for women who want better jobs but worry that they will find it difficult to work in traditionally male-dominated occupations.