I’m a student, an aunt, a daughter, a budding photographer and for me Attawapiskat is much more than a housing crisis.
Attawapiskat is home. A lot happens here the media has yet to report.
As I write this, the river has just frozen over, the air is crisp and our community shines bright through winter’s darkness. With snowshoes on our feet, or on Ski-Doo we brave the cold and host teams from all over the James Bay coast in our annual hockey and broomball tournament at the Reg Loutit Memorial Sportsplex.
Back before the houses, hospital, church or Northern Store were built, my ancestors lived in the bush and would congregate near where I live now. They gathered to tell hunting stories, find love, resupply and work together on solutions to the troubles they shared. These traditions are honoured here and our greatest strength is our connection to the land.
The islands are a pristine place where the ground is carpeted with thick soft moss and provides a perfect setting to learn about our culture. When I walk there I feel the earth breath as I think about the people who cut these trails as well as the ones who will walk them in the future.
To anyone who wants to visit Attawapiskat, you are welcome to come for a walk in my moccasins and I will be happy to show you the place I call home.
This story produced with guidance from Danny Kresnyak of Journalists for Human Rights as part of JHR’s Northern Ontario Initiative.