I am extremely blessed to have parents who come from rich and fascinating cultures, and I am extremely proud of where I come from.
My father is Dene, Cree, and Metis from Alberta, where he was born and raised. I was actually born in Edmonton and lived there until I was two. After that, my family moved to Six Nations, Ontario, where I still reside. My mother is Anishinaabe from Temagami First Nation, and Onondaga from Six Nations of the Grand River.
Although all of these nations are a part of my identity, when asked I will usually tell others I am Onondaga, since it is the part that feels most close to me, since I was raised on Six Nations around other Haudenosaunee people. I grew up going to an on-reserve elementary school, learning Cayuga instead of French, surrounded by my culture and history. I am proud to come from a reserve, and today I am here to tell you more about Six Nations!
Now I know a number of people who are reading this are likely from Six Nations, as many of my supporters are from home, but for those of you who aren’t, I’ll start out with some facts and history! So the Six Nations are made up of Onondaga, which I am, Tuscarora, Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, and Cayuga. When describing where we are located to people who aren’t from my area, I usually say that we are between Hamilton, Brantford, and Hagersville. My old title from 2015 was actually Miss Teenage Six Nations of the Grand River, so at nationals I found myself describing the area as such.
Six Nations of the Grand River actually has the highest population of any First Nation in Canada, with the total band membership as 27 276 (2017), and 12 848 (2017) living on reserve. When I think about that number, I try and imagine how much that is, and I know it sounds typical, but it really is a place where everyone knows everyone! And even if you don’t know someone, you probably know their parents or siblings, which can be good or bad, depending on how you view it. I personally look at it as a positive, because since everyone knows everyone, there’s always so much support for so many local causes. When there is a family in need hosting a fundraiser, we are always there to lend a hand and support where we can. When I was doing my fundraisers for Miss Teenage Ontario, I had so many people who supported me, which I am incredibly thankful for.
Six Nations is host to many events throughout the year, most notably, our annual Bread & Cheese celebration in May, and the Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow. Bread & Cheese is Six Nations’ celebration of Victoria Day, in which everyone has the chance to line up and receive a slice of bread and cheese, hence the name. There’s always a fair and parade, and I’m excited to attend this year as Miss Teenage Ontario!
The Grand River Champion of Champions Powwow is held annually the fourth weekend of July. The website describes the event as “an Aboriginal Multicultural event, annually the fourth weekend of July; so as to promote our rich arts heritage by showcasing our ‘pride’ in music, dance, arts and crafts”. The event draws people from across Canada and the United States, and it is always a great weekend, full of incredible dancing, art, and of course, food! My personal favourites are the scone dogs and indian tacos, but there’s always so many vendors to choose from. You can also find some fantastic art, from the artists who are set up throughout the weekend. From paintings to beadwork to leather, and much much more, there’s always somewhere to be browsing. I absolutely love going, and I’m looking forward to this year’s powwow!
There’s so much more about my community that I could share, but I just wanted to share a few facts, maybe I’ll do a part two eventually! I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog! Thanks for reading!
Til Next Time