The choice to be in Thunder Bay

I moved back to Thunder Bay after living in numerous places. I moved back in 1999 in June. The first place I lived was a hotel room! I then found my first apartment at 125 S. Marks Street, upper apartment. My first roommate bailed on me, and I found a roommate who was also attending the B’Ed. program named Shane. He was a South African.  Shortly after moving in, I met the Salvadoran, my husband. We left shortly from June 2006-June 2009, and returned with two babes– a new one just born in Feb. and our first son born in 2006. I returned and entered grad school. Again, our first place back, a motel room. This was a potentially scary situation, but my back up plans were my parents home in Marathon should true housing issue arise. We then ended upo in a place by Lakehead University, right across the street. The renter totally resembled Brutis from Popeye– remember that show. He literally jumped in our car with us to show us the place he had available. I was forever grateful. It was warm, clean, and well, two bedrooms. What struck me though was the lack of Land, and no yard. I made up for that by  building forts with our kids along the sides of the building. What continued to strike me though was the sense of a lack of Land, as I wrote my thesis this seemed to resonate more and more.    We had lived in Marda Loop Calgary together.  This was a pretty dreamy place to live.  I had connected also with the local First Nation community and taught there, as well as placed our first son in daycare there. Picture… driving thru the southwest end of Calgary and then entering a dirt road, and you are leaving the city. It was truly one of the most gorgeous rides to work ever. See this clip as it would be what we would see together, my first and I:

Before that I had been:

-At McMaster in Hamilton (Jan. 1999- April 1999) upgrading so I would be a better candidate for entrance into the Bachelor of Education. I went here in 1999 in the spring. I had  went in exclusively to take English upgrading, and I lived in residence near my sister Chantelle.  I took about 5 courses.  By early spring I was accepted to Queens, or Lakehead. I was so relieved to get into Lakehead. Of course, hands down, I chose the north shore. I wanted to be close to family, and the Big Lake.

-Prior to that- a nervous breakdown (age 25) & a long story for another day, or days. You provide the coffee, or wine.

-Penticton British Columbia (Sept. 1996-April 1997) Creative Writing at the Enowkin International School of Writing. I met some fabulous creative Indigenous writers and artists, including my favourite writers and Im only listing one of their books as a point of reference- they’ve written many more. First though, the Late Jack Forbes (Columbus and other Cannibals), Lee Maracle (I am Woman), Kateri Akiwenzie Damm(My Heart is a Stray Bullet), Joy Harjo (putting together her first analogy (Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writings of North America [Gloria Bird, Joy Harjo] ), Maria Campbell (Halfbreed), Joanne Arnott(Breasting the Waves), and then became friends with many, and still am to this day through social media.

-Peterborough, Ontario (September 1992- April 1996) Took Native Studies. After this intensive degree, I decided that Creative Writing would help “decolonize” me, which was why I went to Penticton B.C. in the first place. Academia can be an isolating place, yet, I made some of the most amazing people I know b/c we were all decolonizing in our ways. I had always wanted to get into the education program. I wanted to teach about Residential Schools. I had always seen the discrepancies about what I learned in school versus what I perceived to be the “truth”. I always indigenized my learning experiences, whether it be art, literature, social studies. At the same time, I worked hard to learn about things i was passionate about: goddesses, literature, Mythology, existentialism, theatre, poetry, exploring, travelling, Queen Street West and the E99 section of libraries.

-Marathon, Ontario (Spring 1980- September 1992) I grew up near the north shore of Lake Superior. My mom and dad moved there in 1980 and I was 7.  Lots of connections to Pic River First Nation, though we lived in Marathon, which is where my parents still live.

-Scarborough, Ontario (pretty much up until I was 7) Neilson and Sheppard, Blackwell Avenue. Unit #37.

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