Come with me on a journey in ‘her story’ at Fall Festival in Thunder Bay

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Fall Harvest at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay
Making bannock at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay

Fall Harvest at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay
Making bannock at Fort William Historical Park in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – Come with me on a journey in history, or in this case ‘her story’. There is a place in Thunder Bay where you can spend some time in the year 1815. Get a glimpse of what yesterday entailed, today. Fort William Historical Park (FWHP) is located southwest of the Thunder Bay International Airport. People dressed in period clothing adorned the buildings and today’s indigenous people sharing knowledge with the youth in the native encampment and central square.

Fort William has been an integral part of Thunder Bay since the trading post was made. It is the farthest traders could bring their big boats west in search of furs. Fort William was the first permanent settlement by foreigners in this area.

Fort William Historical Park - Trading Post
The ‘Trading Post’ at Fort William Historical Park

It is here (FWHP), that people gathered today for the Fall Harvest. Fall is a very busy time of year, there is so much to do; hunt, fish, gather food, and medicines, preserve what you have hunted, fished, and gathered, make warm mukluks, jackets, mittens, and clothing to survive the winter.

Fall Harvest Fort William Historical Park
Raven Linklater making bannock at Fort William Historical Park at the Fall Festival.

It is wonderful to see the integration of yesterday and today.

We often have a romanticized version of what an ‘Indian’ is.

We think of what Hollywood has portrayed and have this idea of an Indian being in feathers, leather clothing and living in tipis.

I call myself Anishinabekwe, not an Indian. I am university educated and worked in finance for a number of years. I wear clothes you would wear and even Pow Wow regalia have materials and are composed of textiles, beads and accessories you would never have seen 100 years ago. We are a live, thriving, adapting people.

The tools we use for our traditional practices have changed and progressed with inventions. Today I saw, a lab top being utilized in lieu of a fiddle, cast iron frying pans, tents, knives, coolers, bowls, spoons, yarn in lieu of sinew, beads for bone or corn.

Young and old alike love bannock!
Young and old alike love bannock!

A wide assortment of adaptations from originality.

Today was an awesome day at the FWHP. High school and college students came to share in the knowledge and activities that are traditionally attached with fall harvest. It was amazing to watch people embrace a culture outside of their milieu.

Raven Linklater