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.
Pic Mobert First Nation
We drove up to Pic Mobert, zigging and zagging off the trans Canada highway, passing many beautiful bay’s and rocky hills. We entered Pic Mobert, a community of about 350 and noticed many signs along the way in, including one saying in 2016 they received clean drinking water. Pic Mobert is about 1 hour from Marathon, the closest hospital (and high school). Pic Mobert is a small community of 350 members on reserve. Upon entering a part of the community we felt lost…again… lol… and one of the gentlemen we drove in past waved us down and asked if we needed anything. He was so incredibly sweet and helped us on our way. We met Walter more formally later that afternoon.
The Admin building, Ontario Works, and Health Centre were the hub of the community and all were bustling. We pulled up in our conspicuous car (not)… and felt many prying eyes. Evan and I spoke in the car for minutes deliberating what to do. We had no plans to meet anyone and it was lunch time. We did not want to impose. We ripped off the metaphorical band-aid and stepped out of the car. All the lovely ladies at OW office waved us over and asked who we were, jokingly stating how small their community is and that any visitors don’t go unnoticed. One of the ladies brought us over to the health centre where another brought us in to meet with Jude and Susan, two volunteer RN’s and Nun’s from Hamilton.
We unexpectedly spoke with them for about an hour. They told us about their work as foot care nurses, about how much they enjoy supporting First Nations culture. Jude blessed us with tobacco ties, sage broaches, and a wealth of information. She introduced us to a room of beautiful women, including Georgina who was very interested in our journey and super spunky and sweet! We also met Carol while Jude kindly made us some tea. Carol introduced us to Cheryl, whom provides mental health services in the community. She offered some wisdom about the medicine wheel, recognizing the importance of the four colour’s. For your information: Red represents the Red people of the world; Black represents the Black people of the world; White represents the White people of the world; and Yellow represents the Yellow people of the world. She noted never to feel out of place or lesser because each person has something to offer to one another. Everyone we met spoke with such passion about the community and their work. I felt so much love among the community. They wanted to offer so much. I am very thankful for their kindness. Incredibly unexpected and will be forever cherished.
Ojibway’s of Pic River First Nation/ Biigtigong Nishnaabeg/ Pic Ojibway 50 Band
We heard a nice prelude about Pic River from Pic Mobert, noting that they are a progressive community, with paved roads and lots of employment options, including the Pic River Development Corporation (http://prdc.picriver.com/). Both communities spoke highly of the Chief as he has been elected consistently and seems to be a positive in the eyes of the community. The community consists of about 500 on reserve.
We rolled in to Pic River, about 40 minutes from Pic Mobert, and about 20 minutes from Marathon. We met with Erica, the Health and Social Service Director at the health centre. She was very kind and VERY hard worker. She commends the staff she works with, all of whom greeted us kindly. We spoke for a couple of hours with Erica as she highlighted some of the politics, projects, and peoples of Pic River. I am excited for all of the things up and community for her and the community! I learned alot about the services provided and the things needed for the community, too much to share here!
Along this route, we had virtually no cell phone service…We stayed in Pukaskwa NP for a beautiful, quiet evening. We watched rabbits grazing, saw beautiful succulents, waterbrushed trees washed ashore, and so much more. Pukaskwa is minutes from Pic River. So beautiful!