Way of the Wigwam Pilot Project for Rama First Nation (F.N.)
Agricultural & Outdoor Wildlife Life Skills Center
By Patti Williams-Ingersoll
The Chippewas of Rama First Nation once was a huge tribe that included Beausoleil F.N, Georgian Island F.N. and the Chippewas of Naywash F.N. Our history is best told by the Coldwater Narrow Treat currently in negotiations. What I am proposing could benefit these First Nations as well, partnerships could once again be renewed to make the Agricultural & Outdoor Wilderness Life Skills Center.
I have an idea to develop an Agricultural & Outdoor Wilderness Life Skills Project. This is a project that can involve the whole family and community, we can return to our heritage that for so long has been denied to us. I think we should now pay homage to ourselves and learn to live off the land once again, a pilgrimage to the old ways and to Mother Earth.
As a person with the entrepreneurial spirit, I know I have picked a winner to share because I am passionate about sharing my idea. I think you will be to once I explain how the agricultural & Outdoor Wilderness Life Skills Project will operate. It is innovative, will have a positive impact and will eventually be self sustaining.
Customarily, First Nation people were not farmers but hunter and gather's our food. Today we eat over processed food because fruits and vegetable are to expense for most people living on social assistance or in the modern world we are to busy to prepare health well balanced meals and opt for take out at McDonald's. Diabetes is rampant and out of control because we no practice our traditional methods of hunting with a bow, arrow and snaring. It is true that we can never go back to living off the land full time nor would we really want to leave life's luxuries of running water and heated floors but perhaps we can reintroduce the values and practices that made us distinctly who we are as First Nation people. The ultimate goal will naturally be for the project to be self sufficient and for the community to be self sustaining as well. In all honestly, we can dress like non-native people we can look like non-native people but we will always be First Nation because it is in our DNA.
I would like to propose a partnership with Rama First Nation to farm the property the recently purchased. Relationship will have to be forge in the name of building a agricultural experience to enrich the community. I think we could grow our own fruits and vegetable, an apple orchard, hay, barley and possibly tobacco. We can eat what we need, sell the rest at market for profit to put back into the farm. These are just a few suggestion we can possible grow other renewable resources eventually. We will need to breed our own organic animals for consumption. I think that horses could be have healthful beneficial impact as well.
The Outdoor Wilderness Life Skills Center will be for anyone wishing to learn archery, hunting, trapping, snaring, canoeing, snowshoeing, fishing, wigwam making, cooking, drying meat and fish, berry picking, sweet grass and other medicinal herbs. Adults, youth, children can come and live the way of the wigwam for a week or weeks at a time. We will have teacher passing on their knowledge they way it used to be, generational teaching. It has been said that, "We must know where we come from in order to know where we are going". Author Unknown.
I come from a place where this project is possible because we are a proud progressive people that have evolve and we adapt the change quickly.
My ultimate goal is for First Nation people to reconnect with themselves, Mother Earth because we need to learn to walk gentler on Mother Earth. I believe my project will make a difference because people will be confident, have self-respect and take what is learned out into the world for a fulfilling positive life.
We will be changing the world one person at a time and be making a difference in the world.