We have just arrived back in Treaty 13, what is now known as Toronto. "The name Toronto is derived from a Mohawk word "tkaronto," which means "where there are trees standing in the water." I am behind on a few posts, as we visited about 4 more Residential School sites. Please stay tuned. In the …
Miigwetch for your patience while I take some time to re-group after our month long trip. Reflecting back in time, we visited the two sites of Cecilia Jeffery's IRS on June 23rd and June 25th. Students at the school were part of a flour experiment, like those at St. Mary's IRS, but CJ's experiment looked at education and its effects on healthy eating. In addition, kids were part of an ear infection drug trial.
St. Mary's IRS was located on Rat Portage First Nation (also known as Wauzhushk Onigum Nation), treaty 3 territory. We happened upon the memorial site when we were exiting WON and were able to take some time to pray for the spirits of those who attended the school. The memorial was a beautiful tribute.
Today (Friday, June 23), I acknowledge that we traveled through and reside in Treaty 3. We travelled through Wauzhushk Onigum Nation and Iskatewizaagegan First Nation. I was unable to reach either of these communities prior to our arrival. I would like to remind myself and readers of the white bias that my writing inherently possesses. Please feel free to comment, correct, or question anything I have said throughout any of my blogs.
I used to love tattooing up and wearing red and white, dreamt the only real tattoo I’d get would be of a Canadian flag. I loved going to Parliament, or street parties, or fireworks to join with festivities. I remember when I was 8 y/o I sang (not well) the national anthem to friends and family. I cherish those memories. This year, my definition of what it means to be Canadian has changed, and I don’t feel like celebrating is the best way for me to recognize Canada.
St. Joseph's opened as an Orphanage in Fort William in 1870 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Sault Ste Marie. The school accepted both white and Indigenous children so was considered an orphanage. It then evolved into a boarding school. I closed in 1907 as the CPR was being built closer to Thunder Bay. The school moved to the corner of Arthur and Franklin St. (the current playground of Pope John Paul II), closing in 1966.
*I am very behind on my posts because life happens... I am still learning and will continue to post - please notice the date as per the title. **Photo above was created by Kels Pitchenese, see their website in the Eagle Lake FN paragraph. Today, I acknowledge that we traveled through Treaty 60 to Treaty 3, and are residing in Treaty 3 territory. We traveled through Fort William First Nation, Wabigoon, and Eagle Lake. We were unable to reach Grassy Narrows and so did not make the 2-hour journey off the highway to there.
Does Rupert Ross' book have a place to be teaching Indigenous Healing? And if so, is this where I want to be, or where we should be learning from. Do authors like Laurie Graham, who write about Indigenous issues from a White-allied perspective have a place? Does this very blog I am writing have a place? What is that place? Are we taking away from Indigenous writers and story tellers?
Today (June 21) has been entitled National Aboriginal Day , which began in 1996 on summer solstice. In 2018, Indigenous Peoples hope that this will be renamed to National Indigenous Peoples day. I support this change (plus making it a holiday for celebrating the many cultures, languages, and first peoples of the land which Canada resides on). There was a wealth of community celebrations across many reserves, many of which we were invited to… However, our route permitted Thunder Bay as our destination, a city with a rich Indigenous population who would be having a large PowWow as well.
Today, I acknowledge that we traveled through the Robinson-Superior Treaty, where we are staying. We traveled through Pic Mobert First Nation and Pic River First Nation where we were met with the most welcoming people.