After completing many international missions, in 2007, someone asked, why don’t you do something in your own country. It was a thought-provoking question. The response from Cataraqui United was amazing. A group of about six of us began studying Indigenous culture. For two years we attended workshops, educational sessions and learned. This included sitting with Jonathon Maracle in a tipi where we heard his words of wisdom. He said: “Go into the community and be with (rather than for); get to know the people. With your heart and soul in the right place, the trip will be productive.”
Jay Montour, in Moose Factory welcomed Irene Clarke and Doris Thomas with a tour of the island and the beautiful youth centre where he worked. On this visit Jay introduced us to Charlie Cheechoo, the elected deputy chief who told us of a youth who was having a difficult time who had come to his office and said, if I could only get out on the land, maybe life would be different. In response Charlie founded Project George. After about six years of annual weekly visits we were fairly well known as we were a minority. As a result, we made friends, listened to the stories and learned about the challenges, many around the cost of food and energy. Lisa Sutherland told us about the previous year’s Christmas food drive where they needed ninety-five baskets and only had enough food for sixty and some who donated, really should have been receiving rather than giving. We found the generosity and sharing in the community a heart-warming experience. She also told us of the SWAP that she held where they gave away clothing to those who need.
It was time to put what we had learned into action. Linda Tucker came on board and accepted the food drive campaign. That year we sent 3,000 pounds of food north filled with the items Lisa said her team felt would be most welcome. This food campaign momentum continues with 4,325 pounds this past year. Irene and Doris accepted the clothing and bedding challenge and initially sent nineteen bags, this past year 107 twenty-five-pound bags went to Moose Factory and beyond.
In June 2018 Irene and Doris opened the Misiway shop in Moosonee. This provides an ongoing opportunity to shop for nearly new items that are affordable.
In the north the winters are long and hockey is a great way to have fun and expel energy. But
In 2017 Friends for change were welcomed by Friends of the North Misiway and were instrumental in the increase in donations to the north. Each person brings their individual gifts and talents and work with a passion to make a positive difference to those life in the north. Twenty nineteen welcomed the connection to Helping Hands in the Port Hope area who have many resources. Twenty nineteen was the year we partnered with True North Aid. 0000