Delaney Windigo Column

Summer is in full swing and for many it is a time for exploration and travel. For some it is a time to escape the daily grind and finally have to opportunity to just relax. My summer travel was not about exploring something new, it was about returning to the familiar.

It has been just over two years since I left the prairies to move to Toronto. I was presented with the opportunity to move to the Big Smoke and continue doing what I love- being a journalist.

It was an opportunity that I seized with excitement because it was a chance to start a new chapter in my life.

Living in Toronto has been a drastic change. It is fast paced and everyone seems to be in a rush. Despite that, I love exploring the new sights and sounds and learning about different cultures.

The city provides fresh experiences, which makes it the perfect place for me. Yet, it is always refreshing to go back home.

I grew up on the Muskowekwan First Nation in Treaty 4 territory. After almost an entire year, I finally went home for a visit recently. The visit was long overdue as I was beginning to feel homesick.

I promised myself and my mom that I would never go that long without going home again.

There is something about Muskowekwan- the sense of community and belonging that will always make it home- no matter where I live.

I remember in university elder Glen Anaquod (who has since passed away) told me “Never forget where you come from and always help your people.” It was a piece of advice that has always stuck with me.

Since graduating university I have chosen to work in Indigenous media. I have felt like being a storyteller is my way of giving back to the First Nation community, by sharing our stories. As much as the media is criticised, what people may not realize is the emotional toll a journalist may experience.

I love reporting on the positive stories but sadly, our stories are not always positive. It is when the grind of daily news gathering starts to wear me down that I feel like I need to take a trip home.

One of the questions I am constantly confronted with kind of goes like this, “If there are so many social issues on reserves, why don’t people just leave?”

To be honest I have yet to master my response.

I usually try to explain that our respective First Nations are our home, our community and our connection to the land. Although that answer never seems to satisfy the curious Canadians who ask, my response is holds true to myself.

Living so far away from Muskowekwan has made me feel a greater sense of appreciation for my home. Going back to Muskowekwan always leaves me feeling reinvigorated, with sense of purpose and a reminder as to why I chose to be a journalist.

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