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draftyblog

a blog about reading, writing, art, education and honouring the treaty relationship

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Sara General

It is August!  Days are passing in their usual quick fashion and there are many things to blog and share, particularly about water. I have been busy learning more about this amazing resource and ecosystems more generally.   The book I recently finished reading, called Blue Covenant, definitely informed my thinking and understanding of global water issues and highlighted some of the policy challenges and dynamics in the current discussions.   For those of you who don’t like reading, the author Maude Barlow, is also featured on a few TVO episodes.
Over the last few weeks, I have found some excellent resources and been introduced to many individuals and organizations whose work in the area is outstanding and inspiring.  As I compile my own notes and questions, I feel very lucky to be so close to a river but also grossly under educated about the role the river plays within the global network and water system.  I think this is an important consideration – how do local efforts contribute to the global situation? And which efforts ought to take priority?  And do we have a sufficient range of positive, productive solutions that we can move forward with confidence? At any rate, I look forward to learning and organizing those notes into a comprehensive and invigorating introspective in the near future.   

The welcoming signage
In the meantime, I've continued to explore local areas along the Grand River and one place I recently visited was the Chiefswood National Historic Site.  They actually have a new website http://www.chiefswood.com/, so I won’t go into all the details of their mandate and history here, but suffice it to say that Chiefswood was the home of E. Pauline Johnson, a poet and performer of Mohawk descent who lived there in the late 19th century. 

My super cool niece 
There are many things that that intrigue me about Chiefswood.  In many ways, it is a physical place that was constructed, quite purposefully, to facilitate relationship building.  It literally has two entrances opening towards the river and to the road and it is easy to see how the ebb and flow of people and ideas would inspire creativity, provoke questions and ignite the imagination of a young writer.
I actually used to dream about the house when I was little, so in many ways, Chiefswood has been infused with my conceptualization of community for decades now, even though I have only visited it a handful of times.  
 

There's the guest book on the table - I love guest books
This last was a particularly fun visit, because my niece took the tour with me.  She has a remarkable and sparkling intellect and the kind of genuine interest and enthusiasm that can really radiate from young people.  This was especially awesome – because our tour was led by one of the summer students, who was exceptional in relaying the story of the house, the family, the elements of the various relationships, the political dynamics that were at play at the time, and hinting at the enticing scandals that seem to accompany any good retrospective history. 
A picture from the meadow
It’s great to see young people taking charge of both learning and sharing our history as indigenous peoples, including our local history, which can often get lost in the big picture or mainstream media and most certainly gets lost in the current school curriculums.  Ahem…Justin Bieber. 
Awesome summer students
At any rate, we had a lovely day and I hope that if any of you are in the area, that the Chiefswood National Historic Site is one of your stops.   Til next time!
S