Tansley First Nations Projects
Tansley United Church is very involved in our local community helping vulnerable populations in need. In addition, we are now focusing a bit further afield to a Far North Canadian project, First Nations communities of Ontario’s north.
Tansley’s focus on these communities is rooted in something that happened in the spring 2016. Tansley United Church’s Book Club, Tansley Reads, read Up Ghost River, by Edmund Metatawabin. A survivor of the residential school system Edmund Metatawabin is former First Nations Chief of Fort Albany on the James Bay coast in Northern Ontario. In Up Ghost River he details his life in a loving family, his experience in the residential school system, the importance of native teachings, the land and much more.
The group was so moved by his story that we collected funds to purchase and send several shipments of fresh fruit (extremely expensive to purchase locally in fly-in northern communities) to early child care centres in First Nations communities along the James Bay coast and in areas close to the northern Manitoba/Ontario border through connections of a member of Tansley.
Our next project was to supply snowsuits for these same children as there is often a shortage. Without warm winter clothing the opportunity to play outside during cold weather is limited or eliminated. A snowsuit drive was organized and over 50 snowsuits and close to 50 pairs of flannel pajamas were sent.
Our next project is to support Edmund Metatawabin’s Paquatasimik Project. Youth and elders travel the Albany River so the young people learn about the history of their ancestors. The Albany River is a beautiful river, clean and winding all the way up from Fort Albany to Lake St. Joseph north of Thunder Bay. Sadly, many youth don't get a chance to travel this historic highway very often, if at all. The youth are taken on the land and introduced to the historic aspects of the environment which can have life-changing effects on them. They undertake repairing gravesites in cemeteries along the river.
In June 2107 we held a Document Shredding event to raise funds to support this project. It was a great success and went a long way to funding this initiative.
We are planning other collaborations in the future so stay tuned.
“Miigwetch” (Thank you!)