By Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer
As a baby, Chacaby discovered religious and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, looking, and bush survival abilities from her Ojibwa stepfather. She additionally suffered actual and sexual abuse via diverse adults, and through her teenager years she used to be alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay together with her childrens to flee an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded via racism, endured, yet Chacaby came upon helps to aid herself and others. Over the next a long time, she completed sobriety; expert and labored as an alcoholism counselor; raised her little ones and fostered many others; discovered to dwell with visible impairment; and got here out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the 1st homosexual satisfaction parade in her followed urban, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Ma-Nee Chacaby has emerged from complication grounded in religion, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir offers remarkable insights into the demanding situations nonetheless confronted via many Indigenous people.
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Additional resources for A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
Most of her friends went with their children, so she wanted me to attend church with her, too. I did not like to get up so early on Sunday mornings. At first my mom forced me to go, but then my grandmother told her to let me be. My kokum said I should be allowed to decide whether I wanted to attend church. My mom was a fine musician—she played the fiddle and the accordion, and she had a beautiful singing voice. She also was a good cook, and sometimes she hosted big dinners at her house. Her Christmas fish dinners were well known, and everyone agreed she made the best pudding in Ombabika.
I knew that would be enough zhooniyaa (money) to buy ten hard candies, so I agreed, not understanding how much my grandmother and others valued my long hair, which had never been cut. Of course, Matilda did a terrible job, leaving me with a crude bowl cut, and my mom and stepdad were not pleased. Still, Matilda and my mother usually got along very well. They both liked to sew with the other girls and women at the long house. My mom and Matilda often made fun of me together, and sometimes Matilda watched and laughed when my mom hit me.
That worked very well. My grandmother also told me stories to teach me lessons, and sometimes maybe to frighten me away from dangerous activities, like taking off into the snow to go sledding by myself. She probably worried about me being out alone in the bush in winter. One time I remember she told me a story about travellers who stayed overnight in a little dome they built out of snow and branches. While they were there, she said, the people saw someone speed toward them moving incredibly fast.