Saskatchewan·Special Report

Long road makes way for First Nations mother's fresh start

Single mother Brandy Maxie is parenting to protect her children from the risks they face because they are First Nations.

Single mom Brandy Maxie knows her children face risks because of their race

A fresh start

7 years ago
Duration 1:02
Brandy Maxie talks about her struggle to leave a bad neighbourhood where she faced racism.

After years of fear and disappointment, Brandy Maxie's life took a turn.

The single mother of three got a break in the form of a job interview in Saskatoon. The chance at a new life came just in time, after years of living in fear in Regina's North Central neighbourhood, unable to escape what she called the "hood." She was afraid her dreams would die there.

"I just kind started feeling hopeless," she stated. "Like, I can't get a decent paying job. I can't do this. I can't do that. When you're living poor, people treat you pretty bad, especially if you're an indigenous woman. They really do."

Maxie said it was a long journey that lead her to Saskatoon. She won her way through First Nations' entrepreneurial competitions. She explained that she often wore sweatshirts to the presentations because she was too poor to buy a blazer.

Racism made her more determined to succeed

Physically my appearance, I look like what they would stereotype as a prostitute.- Brandy Maxie

"Me, walking to a business planning competition and somebody yells 'how much?' or tries to stop me," she said. "They're not driving by and thinking 'oh no, she looks like she's trying to do good in her life, I'm going to leave her alone'. Physically my appearance, I look like what they would stereotype as a prostitute."

Sparvier in the ring at Nelson Boxing Club in Saskatoon. She and her younger brothers take the lessons twice a week. (CBC News)
Now Maxie lives on Saskatoon's east side in a modest duplex with her three children. She is working hard to make her dreams of franchising her own fitness company a reality.

Her two sons, ages six and eight, both have health challenges. Her eldest and only daughter, 11-year-old Valyncia, is always by her side.

Read about Maxie's parenting strategy here: Parenting First Nations children in a world of risk

Read more about this story here:

CBC Saskatchewan is taking a closer look this week at missing and murdered indigenous women cases in the province. We are exploring everything from how mothers are raising their daughters differently to the role men play in finding a solution to what more needs to be done. 

We've also launched a way you can tell your story about how a missing and murdered indigenous case has touched your life. Share your story here


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?