By Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer
As a baby, Chacaby realized non secular and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, looking, and bush survival talents from her Ojibwa stepfather. She additionally suffered actual and sexual abuse by means of various adults, and through her teenager years she was once alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay along with her young ones to flee an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded by way of racism, persisted, yet Chacaby came across helps to assist herself and others. Over the next a long time, she completed sobriety; knowledgeable and labored as an alcoholism counselor; raised her young ones and fostered many others; discovered to dwell with visible impairment; and got here out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the 1st homosexual delight parade in her followed urban, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from hassle grounded in religion, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir offers extraordinary insights into the demanding situations nonetheless confronted by way of many Indigenous people.
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Extra resources for A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Sometimes my mom used her wheelchair as a walker, supporting herself as she stood or walked, but if she became very tired she sat down in it. She could wheel herself around fairly well on Ombabika’s compacted gravel roads. A couple of years after my mother moved to Ombabika, she married an Ojibwa man named Gabe. They seemed happy together. I don’t remember them ever arguing. They laughed and kissed a lot; they also often got drunk together. Gabe mainly worked as a trapper and a hunter, but at times he was employed by the railroad, or as a fishing and hunting guide for white men who visited the area.
These were small, beaded, leather pouches with sacred items permanently sealed in them. They were to be worn around the neck. I recall she once made a medicine bag for my aunt Renee’s son, Justin, after his parents complained that he misbehaved. I remember her telling them, “Oh, well, that’s just the way he is. ” Justin was a few years older than me. He had lived with my grandmother before I came to live with her, and sometimes he still came to stay with us for a few nights. Justin was a bit jealous that I got to live with our kokum all of the time.
My grandmother always spoke of my grandfather with a great love and respect. She lived many years after he died, but she never remarried. While my grandmother lived in Ombabika, she and some other local Native people signed a treaty with Canadian government representatives and became registered as “treaty” or “status” Indians. Ombabika was not part of a reserve when my grandmother lived there. Instead, local treaty Indians became members of the Fort Hope Reserve, which had been formed 150 kilometres north of Ombabika in July of 1905 (Figure 2).
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer