My name is Mary Sheila Zacharchuk. My parents lived in Salluit. It's in Quebec - the very top of Quebec. And I joined the military in 1989. August 24th, to be exact. I joined because there were no jobs available for me to get into, so my mom suggested the Canadian Forces, and fifteen or sixteen years later I'm still here.
When I joined the military, I joined as a radio operator. At the time it was the first year that they were accepting females into a man's trade, because radio operators were meant for men only. I joined in '89, and I wouldn't look back on not being a radio operator. It's brought a lot of knowledge into my work environment today.
I would honestly say believe in yourself and in your heart, because if you put your mind to it, you can do it. I will honestly say that it's given me a lot of opportunity. When I joined, I didn't think I would last a year, and I've made it this far because I've seen other native people doing it. And being the longest serving Inuit from northern Quebec, I do it just because I want my people to be proud of me.