The Chippewa of Georgina Island recognizes that because their community is surrounded by water it has a unique relationship with the aquatic environment. The First Nation also values their elders, and believes that remembering the past is important for the wellbeing of the community. The Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation, in partnership with the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (A/OFRC), has started a knowledge gathering exercise in hopes to capture and share this special connection to the environment. Kim Wheatley, from the Turtle Island Conservation Programme Toronto Zoo, has provided guidance and is also conducting a similar project, related to reptiles and amphibians, that dovetails with the knowledge gathering exercise.
The goal of this project is to document the Traditional Ecological Knowledge by recording historical stories that have been passed down for generations through the community, or individual observations/experiences from elders and other community members. Ultimately, the band would like to create a historical/educational reference book for Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation so that the knowledge is not lost and that future generations can learn from the past.
To start the process, Kerry Ann Charles the Environmental Co-Ordinator, and Rachel Big Canoe the Economic Development Assistant from Chippewa of Georgina Island, arranged a meet and greet at the 50+ dinner on Wednesday, July 4th. This summer, a student from Georgina Island will be conducting interviews, scanning photos, and recording stories. It is hoped that the people who do speak the language will feel welcome to tell their stories in Ojibway, because traditionally stories were passed down orally.
We look forward to the interesting, funny, and compelling stories of the way that life was on Georgina Island and how it was connected to the environment. We hope that these teachings will be communicated to the youth so that they can continue to shape the community.