My grandmother was of Mohawk blood and her love and nurture imprinted me with a deep connection with my First Nations heritage even though I was of mixed blood.
From an early age I ran through the woods on the game trails like a young deer. Bare chested and barefoot if I was not proudly wearing my moose wrap moccasins made by the women elders of Great Slave Lake.
At the start of summer when dad would be packing to leave for his summer’s work on Great Slave Lake he would have me stand on a piece of card paper and would trace my small feet. Then the elders would use this as the pattern for my moccasins that dad brought back to me at the end of summer when he returned.
As he would hand me my new moccasins he would speak out an affirmation that I was First Nations in a way that made me feel as proud and strong.