In M’ Chigeeng, Chief Raymond invited us to his home. His wife made wonderful fish stew and Raymond entertained with local lore. He was an engaging speaker and held our attention better than any media could have. He also used his speaking ability touring the United States and Canada lecturing youngsters about substance abuse and how it effected lives whether native or not. He held our rapt interest telling how alcohol and drugs had ravished his life and community.
At his home, we met Nancy, a white woman,who several years earlier had visited a far northern outpost-- Moose Factory. She was so taken by its pristine beauty and isolation, she quit her administrative job in the insurance industry and landed work as a cultural liaison with First Nation in Moose Factory. That was four years earlier. Nancy was taking a sabbatical from her work and vist her native culture now with a different prospective. She told me tales of her initiation into native ways and showed me tokens that symbolized her journey. I had long wanted to find sweet grass and gather it from the wild. Nancy told me it grew locally and was tall enough to be harvested. She next offered to take me out to gather some. She showed me the plant and how it must be addressed and asked to offer some of itself to be used by its human brothers. We next made a ritual offering of tobacco as a token to the spirit of the plant we were taking. Nancy then showed me the method of weaving our stalks into a braid. Before we parted, she gave me a necklace she fashioned with porcupine quills.
Lenny spent the day rubbing shoulders with local artists at a gallery that featured local and far flung prominent First Nation artists and their work.. Our trip began when Lenny took on a commission to produce a native sculpture. Here he got to meet and talk with prominent artists who portrayed native themes mostly with an animal subject. We ended up our day at a music and beefier concert at Little Current. Next to here is located the bridge from Manitoulin Island back to Turtle Island. We reminisced how only through chance, we had found our way here, suspended our goal of traveling to the Canadian Rockies, and found a waterfall. It seemed time to press on. We would head west and determine whether or not we would hold to our original goal or come up with a new one.