Monday, March 6, 2017

Allaying Fears

The City Within” an article written by Kenneth Bomberry
was recently published in The Hamilton Spectator.
My interest in reading it, spurred me to write about
the following experience.

More local citizens should better understand the various indigenous tribes living on Six Nations!
They are our neighbours...and I have noted that, according to Ancestry,
more and more people are discovering there is a degree of 'native peoples'
in their Hamilton woman happily declaring
she is 26% native-Canadian...and most proud to be of that heritage!

Frequently I drove Regional Road 6 to and from Port Dover to enjoy its sandy beaches, excellent stage productions at the Lighthouse Theatre, restaurant dining on perch/or other locally caught seafood or roaming the boutique shops. Returning home, we'd often stop for ice cream at Hewitt's Dairy Bar. While in that vicinity, I'd turn left into the 'Reservation' to purchase gas (less than highway costs).

On one occasion a senior bridge friend, Mary, was so frightened that with tightly clenched fists, she feared tomahawks, warriors, poverty with dirt and filth; also expecting to see tepees and tents as living quarters. Assuring her we were safe, she still trembled with the possibility of 'attack' by these Indians! We dined at a native restaurant near Ohsweken...excellent in taste and chatted peacefully with the owner; he was dressed as an average feather arrow in hand...and speaking educated English...all to Mary's surprise! The owner was an artist who displayed his framed artwork in an adjacent alcove. His paintings expressed his 'love of the land', the Grand River and gently rolling land near its banks, the beauty of the four seasons in its woodlands; surprised she was to see the town's municipal buildings including shops, a recreation and sports venue, library, churches and schools. Impressed she was with the residential homes, TV towers, modern cars, well trimmed grass and gardens...her fears tremendously out of sight!

The highlight of the afternoon was a small plaza with a craft shop filled with beaded leather clothing, local art, dream-catchers and unique jewellery designed by local tribal artisans. By this time, Mary's fears were completely allayed as she viewed, with 'new eyes' a society of people like ourselves whose culture is related through its many tribes. Six Nations, she learned was comprised of six major tribes: Iroquois, Cayuga, Lenape, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida.
The Six Nations is also known as “Six Nations of the Grand River”...a total of about 25,660 members.

Very strongly, I agree with Eleanor Roosevelt's words:
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You are able to say, “I lived through this horror;
I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Written by Merle Baird-Kerr...February 4, 2017

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