Traditional Teacher, Whitefish Lake First Nation
I was born at Lake Penage on the Whitefish Lake First Nation Community. My mother was from Mattagami First Nation in Gogama, Ontario. She married my father who was born at Whitefish Lake. I grew up there and eventually moved to the city after my father joined the army during the 2nd WW. I went back to school (Laurentian University) in 1986 and registered in the Native Studies program. The following year I registered for the Native Human Services course ( Social Work ) and graduated in 1991 with a BA in Native Studies, then in 1992 with a BSW. During the same period I went to Lakehead University and registered in the Native Language Instructor Program, and graduated from there with a Diploma permitting me to teach the Algonquin Language.
I came to Toronto and worked with Anishnawbe Health Street Patrol after graduating from university. I have since worked at other native agencies, and am currently working with NCFST as the Cultural Coordinator and Youth Addictions Worker. I am a Traditional Pipe Carrier and am able to do many Ceremonies that my Traditional Teachers have taught me.
I am a father of 7 daughters; unfortunately, two have since passed on. My 5 sons however, are still living throughout the country. With these twelve (12) children, I now have, 29 female grand-children and 14 male grand-sons. Of these grand-children, 4 have given me great-grand-children, 4 more grand-children expecting by mid-summer. That would total 62 presently and 67 by mid-summer. I don’t think I have any more that I don’t know about. Is this enough information for you. Most are Status Native too. Enough for my own Reserve. Maybe I should look into that, with your help…. Waasaanese.