My Home­town

Be­ing able to re­con­nect with the land and adopt a tra­di­tional life­style is a pre­cious gift

Our Canada - - News - By Christie Anna Rickard, Moosonee, Ont.

Born in Moose Fac­tory Is­land, lo­cated about 12 miles in­land from the James Bay coast­line in north­ern On­tario, I spent my early child­hood years in nearby Moose River Cross­ing. Our fam­ily re­turned to Moose Fac­tory later, so my sib­lings and I could con­tinue our ed­u­ca­tion, as the lo­cal school had been closed down.

Moose River Cross­ing is sit­u­ated along the only rail­road track in Canada that reaches all the way up to the north­ern com­mu­nity of Moosonee, Ont., which later be­came—and still is—my true home­town.

While my sib­lings and I were grow­ing up, I al­ways sensed some­thing was miss­ing in my life, some­thing fun­da­men­tal to my very iden­tity, to who I was and where I came from. Over the years, I be­gan to learn more about my Na­tive cul­ture, the his­tory and our way of life. Then, in 2009, I met a man who later be­came my hus­band. Be­ing an am­bas­sador of the land and a hunter, my hus­band taught me how to hunt, fish, set nets, snare rab­bits, make a fire in the rain, read the weather and drive a boat. Even af­ter hav­ing lived in Moosonee for 26 years, I had never ex­pe­ri­enced and learned so much on the land and the mighty Moose River, where the sun­sets are breath­tak­ingly beau­ti­ful, as I did in the rel­a­tively short time I’ve known my hus­band.

I am so thank­ful and proud to have been given the op­por­tu­nity to lead this kind of life­style, which some­day will be passed on to my grand­chil­dren.

To­day, I con­tinue to trace my roots and try to live my life ac­cord­ing to them. I have also been back to Moose River Cross­ing, af­ter be­ing away for many years. My older sis­ter and only brother, both hunters, along with a few neph­ews and nieces, con­tinue to carry on the tra­di­tions of our an­ces­tors in Moose River Cross­ing.

Every year, our fam­ily gath­ers for a spring hunt, mainly geese and ducks. In sum­mer­time, we fish for stur­geon and, in the fall, we head out moose hunt­ing. In ad­di­tion to adding to our pro­vi­sions for the year, these ex­cur­sions are where our fam­ily sto­ries and rec­ol­lec­tions are shared the most. And there are plenty of sto­ries to go around, all of which are close to my heart and a big part of who I am to­day.

Christie en­joys life on the land— and on the wa­ter—around her home­town of Moosonee, Ont.

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