By Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer
As a toddler, Chacaby discovered religious 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 by means of assorted adults, and by means of 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 by way of racism, persevered, yet Chacaby came across helps to assist herself and others. Over the next a long time, she accomplished sobriety; educated and labored as an alcoholism counselor; raised her childrens and fostered many others; discovered to dwell with visible impairment; and got here out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the 1st homosexual delight 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 remarkable insights into the demanding situations nonetheless confronted by means of many Indigenous people.
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Extra info for A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder
My grandmother said that those adults buried the dead in a large mound, and then adopted her and the other two children into their own families. My grandmother’s adoptive parents were very good to her. She and her brother were raised in different households within the same extended family. Their new family had also been attacked by another Native group in their original home, so they were migrating across Canada, trying to reach relatives on the coast of James Bay, in northern Ontario. For many years my grandmother travelled with them by foot, horse, or canoe in summer, and dogsled and horse in winter.
But no one else wore bloomers the way I did, and some people seemed to see me as strange, stubborn, or dumb. ” Others made it clear to me that I was an unwanted, fatherless child—a bastard. People in Ombabika looked down on children who did not have a father, especially if they were girls. When I was young, I often played alone. I made up my own games. I loved standing in the middle of a field of tall grasses to listen as they rustled and made music in the wind. I would brush the grasses to my front and sides to hear what different sounds they made.
My mom was surprisingly patient when she taught me the detailed tasks involved, like how to cut the leather or cloth, or how to stitch beadwork. Both of us were pleased by what I made with her. My stepdad taught me many other skills when I was a child, skills which normally were only taught to boys. When I was eight years old, he made me a pair of snowshoes. While he was working on them, he allowed me to use the material and pattern to make a smaller model pair at the same time. First, we carefully bent pieces of cedar wood over steam.
A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby, Mary Louisa Plummer