Guest Blogger: Sister #3-In Honour of Our Heritage

February18

Today is Louis Riel Day in Manitoba.  It is lovely to have a long weekend in the dead of winter.  On this day I like to reflect on the Métis part of my bloodline.  For those readers who are not familiar with the term, Métis is a French word that literally means mixed.  In my mother’s family, the mix was English, Scottish and Irish men who married Cree and Ojibwe women.  We can trace our roots back to the men who settled this country, and equally importantly, to the women who taught them how to survive in the Canadian wilderness. 

Recently, one of my nieces asked me to teach her something about the food of our family heritage for a university class she was taking.  She was especially interested in learning about Métis food.  But the reality is that we didn’t grow up with Métis food.  Our mom focused more on our Dad’s Eastern European palate, along with the typical Canadian fare that our friends in our middle class neighbourhood were eating.  I didn’t learn to make bannock till I was a grown woman.  To be honest, there was not a lot of pride taken in being part of the first people of Canada when I was a little girl.  I think it was like that for a lot of people.  I remember seeing a documentary by a descendant of  Peter Fidler (of whom we are also descendants) where the filmmaker interviewed her auntie.  The auntie told her that she used to throw a tea towel over their bannock if someone came to the door because she was embarrassed.  She said that now, however, she feels like she should charge people money just to look at her bannock. (Métis humour!)  I too am discovering that the more time I spend with people in Metis and First Nation’s communities, the more pride and joy I find in knowing that they are part of who I am. 

 

For the past couple of years I have had the privilege of doing some work in Sagkeeng First Nation.

The very best part of this has been the friendship I made with Lillian Cook. While she is close to my age, she has become like an elder to me, teaching me many things about Ojibwe life and way of being. One of the important parts of our visits is always what food we will share. This fall, lots of the people came together for an event and feast in the community. They had hunted a deer and we ate variations of venison for three days. 

I especially enjoyed the stew,

but my favorite food discovery was a little something called fry bread-like a deep fried apple fritter (without the apple). I am very glad that no one taught me to make it or I would be in big trouble, it is that addictive. 

 

So in the end I decided to teach my niece how I make bannock.  No we didn’t grow up that way, but many in our family are very intentionally reconnecting with our roots.  I hope having her old auntie teach her to make bannock has planted a seed in her and she will be able to find her own “Lillian”, who can teach her the ancient ways so that she too will know the people from whom she comes. 

Kath’s quote: “When the moon comes over the mountain, I will kiss under under the moonlight.”  -Cree love song

Love-that is all.

 


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posted under Food Celebrations
One Comment to

“Guest Blogger: Sister #3-In Honour of Our Heritage”

  1. Avatar February 18th, 2013 at 5:30 pm Yujin Says:

    Look delicious!!!!! I’m so hungry


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