057_G18_Canada

Global_18

In Focus Canada Holding on to our identity Like most native, or ‘First Nation’, Canadians, the three tribes that live on Walpole Island, Ontario, suffered at the hands of European settlers. But unlike other tribes, they never left their ancestral lands where they still live today. New generations are working hard to protect tradition and the environment Emilie Corbiere Welcome to Walpole Island First Nation, also known as Bkejwanong, meaning “where the waters divide” in the Ojibwe language. The island is located in Southern Ontario, Canada, across the St Clair River from Michigan, USA. Three tribes inhabit Walpole Island, they are the Ojibwe, the Potawatomi and the Ottawa and they have occupied this land for the past 8,000 years as hunters and gatherers. With the three tribes having a common heritage, they formed the Council of the Three Fires, a political and cultural compact that has survived the test of time. It is also unceded territory, which means that the land was never surrendered to the government and the population today is numbered at 3,000 residents. During the war of 1812, a great Shawnee warrior named Tecumseh crossed the border from America into Canada, hoping that he could rally more First Nations warriors into fi ghting alongside the British against the Americans. Thousands of warriors joined the war with Tecumseh and held back the Americans many times. global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 57  One of my ancestors, Chief John Nahdee, fought side by side with Tecumseh and ultimately watched his death at American hands. There is a legend that the native warriors left Tecumseh’s bones on the battlefi eld, returning at darkness to retrieve them and give them a proper native burial. It is believed that Tecumseh is buried on Walpole Island but the whereabouts are unknown. Tecumseh is revered as the most extraordinary native in history and he supported national unity among tribes. Today this is called ‘self determination’ and is recognised by the United Nations. Legendary car manufacturer Henry Ford paid a visit to Walpole Island in the early 1900s, guiding his yacht along the St Clair River to attend a service at the Anglican church and to visit his friend, Minister Simpson Brigham. The fi rst car on the island was a gift from Ford, given to Brigham. It must have been very diffi cult for Brigham to drive his car considering there were no roads on the island. The only forms of transport used by the residents were foot or canoe, so the paths would have been very narrow. These paths are called ‘miikaans’ which in English means ‘little road paths’. These paths still exist today, thousands of years after they © Ian Harnarine


Global_18
To see the actual publication please follow the link above