My chief used to tell me stories about our highways. I would travel with him when I was in high school, he would take me to Chiefs meetings all across Ontario to learn. I have learned so much from my Chief, Duncan Michano. There are about 6 different people that played significant roles in my youth and I am grateful to say that my chief was one of them. I reached out to him when I was in grade 10, inquiring about if he would write me a reference letter for a youth council I was applying to with the Liberal Government. I went on one canoe trip with him about a couple weeks prior to my inquiries and a couple others years prior. He was always working with the youth and making sure we had access to our land and culture. We went to Louie Lake, me, some youth from Pic River, Pic Mobert, Michipicoton and Pays Plat. We stayed out there for 10 days, 5 days staying put in cabins located on the east side of the lake. They brought a cook out there for us, to cook our meals for the week, if I can remember correctly it was Stan and Alice Nabigon. I learned a lot on this trip, how to be independent and what it meant to be Anishinaabe and to take the time to spend time in the bush.
Louie lake is the lake of my ancestors, my mom used to come to this lake when she was a young girl. She would come with her cousins, aunties, uncles, mom, dad, siblings, and grandparents. When I was out there, I remember the feeling of being home. My spirit felt familiar on these lands.
I went back to Louie Lake each year three times after that, this time I would go with my cousins and my sister. We would canoe all over the small lake by ourselves, no adults with us, because there was no need. We were just a bunch of Ojibway kids learning the very land our ancestors use to spend their summers on. I remember one time, it was me, my sister and my cousin in one canoe. And I put a chair in the middle of the canoe so that I can sit, and I knew it was a bad idea but I did it anyway. We were right in the middle of the lake, when I made one wrong move and we went tumbling into the Lake. We were with others and we were all accustomed to the routine of Canoe over Canoe rescue.