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Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - —As told to Jensen Ed­wards

Au­thor Tanya Talaga on the Fort Wil­liam First Na­tion, Ont., and the wild shores of Lake Su­pe­rior

The award-win­ning au­thor and jour­nal­ist on her con­nec­tions to the shores of Lake Su­pe­rior at the Fort Wil­liam First Na­tion, Ont.

FFrom the top of Mount Mckay — known as An­imikii-wa­jiw in the Ojibwa lan­guage — you can see the Kamin­is­tiquia River, which starts north of Thun­der Bay and winds its way over Kak­abeka Falls and then wraps around the moun­tain. From up there, you can see the grain el­e­va­tors that stand along­side the river and the Sleep­ing Gi­ant, Nan­abi­jou, stick­ing out into Gichigami, or Lake Su­pe­rior, that moody wild beast of a lake, where it can be sunny, bright and beau­ti­ful one minute and all rolling clouds, gusts of wind and tor­ren­tial rain the next. The whole area has been a meet­ing place for In­dige­nous Peo­ples for a very long time, be­fore the city of Thun­der Bay ex­isted and be­fore the coun­try of Canada ex­isted. My fam­ily still goes back for pow­wows held on the moun­tain. My mother grew up nearby in Raith, on the tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory of Fort Wil­liam First Na­tion, my grand­mother’s re­serve. There, it’s all about wa­ter. It’s a re­mark­able place that you can feel more than you can see be­cause it’s the Arc­tic wa­ter­shed, the place on Tur­tle Is­land where things split and all the wa­ter goes north to Hud­son Bay or south to the city. The rivers are the high­ways of the past, so when I’m there I’m re­minded of that. It’s mag­i­cal. I don’t re­mem­ber the first time I went to the moun­tain — I would have been re­ally young. But see­ing my kids there when they were smaller, see­ing them run­ning around on top through the tall grass, re­minded me of the gen­er­a­tions that have been there and will con­tinue to be there. It’s a place of spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance for the Ojibwa. It’s a place that means a lot to my fam­ily. It’s a place that ab­so­lutely touches me; it makes me feel peace­ful when I’m there — I feel very happy and whole.

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