By Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer
As a toddler, Chacaby realized non secular and cultural traditions from her Cree grandmother and trapping, searching, and bush survival talents from her Ojibwa stepfather. She additionally suffered actual and sexual abuse via various adults, and through her teenager years she was once alcoholic herself. At twenty, Chacaby moved to Thunder Bay along with her youngsters to flee an abusive marriage. Abuse, compounded via racism, persisted, yet Chacaby came upon helps to aid herself and others. Over the subsequent many years, she accomplished sobriety; educated and labored as an alcoholism counselor; raised her young ones and fostered many others; realized 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 difficulty grounded in religion, compassion, humor, and resilience. Her memoir offers extraordinary 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
My uncle and I agreed. That woman did return later, but she never brought back my painting. I tried to ask her about it. When she realized what I was asking, she spoke to me in English, which I did not understand, and hit her head in a dramatic way, as if to say that she had forgotten it. MY GRANDMOTHER LELIILAH The best memories from my childhood are those of my grandmother, and our life together. My kokum was already very old when I was a child. She probably was in her late eighties when she brought me back from Thunder Bay, and she certainly was one of the oldest people in Ombabika during my childhood.
When I was about seven or eight years old, some white people came to interview my grandmother. I realize now that they wanted to record her stories, but at the time I did not understand what they were doing. My kokum was supposed to answer their questions inside of a tent, using an Anishinaabe interpreter. The white men had set up a battery outside the tent, and connected it via wires running underneath the canvas to a machine with big wheels inside. I watched a man set it up and test the equipment by talking into the machine and then playing back his own voice.
I have never understood why. Maybe my being born made her life worse. Once she told me she wished I had been a boy, because then her life would not have been so difficult. She may have been ashamed that I was a girl who acted like a boy, wearing pants and playing outdoors as a small child, and later working with machinery, and trapping and hunting. When my mother first came to Ombabika, she lived in a trapper’s tent with some other people. They set it up by digging a room about five feet deep into the earth and by reinforcing the dirt walls with wood.