I am from the drumming heartbeat of Mother Earth and Catholic hymns. From moose sinew and holy water. I am from dream catchers and reciting the rosary.
I am from a house that was built on reserve land by my father and grandfather’s hands. Before this I lived in a home that may have been overcrowded with people (a grandfather, grandmother, mother, father, aunt, uncle and brother) but filled with love.
I am from the land where water runs cold and deep, there are trees as far as the eye can see. The air smells of wild flowers in the summer and wood smoke hangs in the air in the winter. You can find relics of the past by the stream behind the old church.
I am from where my Grandpops’ gun is shot off into the air to celebrate the New Year. My Granny’s pots, pans and other noisemakers are struck to frighten off the spirits from the Old Year. Where we all dared the dancing spirits of the Northern lights by whistling at them at night.
I am from a last name that means HOPE. While it is a language different from my own, it is mine and I am proud. I will never change it.
I am from people who fought and adapted to stay alive despite continual oppression. Women were strong and respected as leaders. Men were not afraid to provide care and responsibility for their families.
From the black moss on rocks from Nanabush’s burns, the reason that the bear has a small tail and why dogs can no longer speak to humans. From where you gather all snow, hail and rain in the month of May as it is water from the Holy Mother.
I am from Catholic beginnings but was taught to reclaim tradition. While I may never go back to church, I will now forever carry my medicine bundle and feathers. I grow my own medicines and smudge with my children. My children will always know this, their names will remind them.
I am from the shores of Lake Helen and I am a proud Ojibwe woman. Childhood meals included fried bologna and macaroni and tomato soup as well as Kraft dinner and hot dogs. It was a treat to have an actual bun rather than just rolled bread. I am also from rabbit stew, moose meat and porridge and freshly caught pickeral, potatoes and creamed corn.
I am from a family matriarch that was the first recognized female chief in Canada who always kept chocolate bars and candy in her desk for us at the band office. She always had blueberry pie made for the priest every Sunday in the summer. She had the best movie collection north of Superior.
I am from the long line of ancestors that now line my walls of my home. From a great, great Grandfather that brought us hope. From a Great Grandmother that lived in the community further up the lakeshore. From two Grandfathers that survived residential school. From a Grandmother that wrote and played me songs on her guitar and another Grandmother that will always be my mentor and best friend. From a Father that was always there to put his children’s needs first. From a Mother that maintains the long line of strong, independent women.
I am me.
Note: This blog was inspired by this writing exercise. I would love to read your version.