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October 2, 2022
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

As I write the column it is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  

It reminds me of the story of my Mom’s Great Grand Father, who was the original white settler in the Grimsby, Ontario, region.

It took him 10 years to clear enough land for a small cabin and a garden to feed a future Family.

He said he would not have survived or thrived without the support, generosity, and kindness of the local First Nations people who welcomed him into their community and gave him a helping hand!

He became friends with the Mohawk leader, Joseph Brant, whom he felt was the most intelligent and wise person he had met! 

Something I learned quite recently is, the American constitution was based on the Six Nations Treaty, in which Joseph Brant was a prominent leader.

Apparently, a vital part of the Six Nations Treaty was left out in the US Constitution, this was that women made the final decisions for the Six Nations, not men.

{Joseph Brant or Thayendanegea (1743–1807) was a Mohawk warrior, tribal leader, and diplomat most notable for his alliance with the British during the American Revolution.]

Grand Father also said he met, who he believed, was the first white woman to live with the First Nations, he asked if she wanted him to take her home, however she told him how much she was learning about herbal medicine and edible plants from the Native women so had no plans to leave.

Now, generations later I find myself on the other side of Canada, in Two Mile, BC, in the middle of the Gitxsan Nation where I would not survive without the support, generosity, kindness, and friendship of the local First Nations people. 

While standing in line at the local hardware store I overheard the woman behind the counter say,
“4 NHLer’s were shopping in the store and as they left, they wanted me to know:

‘This one day hockey camp with the local kids, [mainly first nations], changed our lives foreverwe will never be the same, we never knew there could be a community like this, with such good people, in such a beautiful setting. We definitely will be back!”

I could not agree more! I feel so blessed and at home, nestled within the Gitxsan Nation, with Family & Friends close by.

I do understand though, there is a lot of work and healing to be done to attain Truth and Reconciliation. Most days I drive the infamous Highway of Tears, and still hear of First Nations people who go missing. Yet despite the hardships they have faced, for generations, they welcome strangers to their historic community, with open hands and open hearts.

Gitxsan Nation is one of Canada's First Nations and is a name used when referring to the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Gitxsan, which is the formal governing body of the Gitxsan people. Their territories are in the Skeena Watershed of British Columbia, Canada, covering 35,016 square kilometers of land
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