I am a settler. My Ukrainian ancestors came to North America following WWII. Needless to say, the time my family has spent in Canada is brief compared to the thousands of years Indigenous people have lived here. As a new member to the community, I strive to educate myself about those who inhabited the land before my arrival. With this month marking National Aboriginal Day, the day is not only an opportunity to learn more about Indigenous peoples in our community, but to celebrate their contributions that have shaped Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.
With this in mind, our cover story for this month is about Fort William First Nation, where we look at the community’s rich history and culture. We profile eight artists from the community who are exploring their culture and telling stories through their art, whether through beading, filmmaking, or photography. Also in the cover story, Jolene Banning talks to Chief Peter Collins about his career and some of the challenges and opportunities facing the community. With help from the Thunder Bay Museum, Stephanie Wesley looks back 85 years to when the construction of the Mt. McKay Auto Road was completed.
To quote legal scholar and lawyer Angelique EagleWoman, who is interviewed in this issue, “The goal of reconciliation goes back to being permanent neighbours in a shared community. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are permanent neighbours… It is time to begin to right the relationship.” Looking back 85 years to when to the construction of the Mt. McKay Auto Road was completed, I think it’s important to see how far we’ve come as permanent neighbours, and how far we still have to go.