When times have changed and conditions are still the same, we still manage to pull through the pain and struggle of living in those conditions and we continue to pursue a better tomorrow each time. We’ve all had difficult times growing up and still may be going through some of those challenges or all of them today. But with our abilities passed down unto us, we are able to walk through the flames of hate, push the mountains of ignorance, and wash away the blood of the past, we are resilient. We will make our home. Home, again.
My grandfather told me stories of his abilities as a hunter, fisherman, trapper and his survival skills in his youth until he was an adult. I got to know my grandfather in his final years. He was softly spoken and cared a lot about his family and grandchildren, he was ill with diabetes and was a residential school survivor and he was my hero. He may not have been well-known to the world, but he was well-known among the people that he worked with and grew up with. When I come across some of these people, whether they are old friends of my grandfather or relatives, they would tell me stories of his strength and his leadership. My grandfather may have great stories told about him, but under all of his greatness, he was still another man and man can’t win every battle. He struggled with alcohol and anger during his adulthood. These are the kinds of stories you don’t hear about him from other people, because other people never knew these things about him or didn’t want to tell you this.
My grandfather’s name is Wellington Moose. He is the reason I work hard and do my best and don’t abuse my gifts. During his final years of living, I really got to know him. I would be at home to nurse him and to talk with him and to travel with him if he needed to go places for medical reasons. I was there for him. He told me about his dad, his mom, his childhood, about the schools, about how he was feeling. My grandmother passed years before, and he was moving around from home to home, because none of his children wanted to keep him, they wanted to put him into a home. My mother said no, to that decision and brought him into our home. Because, my mother let my grandfather stay with us, he died in a loving home and I hope happy. Wellington Moose is a name that a lot of older people in his home town of South Indian Lake (O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation) know well. Even some of the younger generation knew of who he was, because he had a small home business and sold all kinds of goods. Wellington Moose is a sign of resilience and a sign of how time heals us and allows us to become better and stronger people. His ability to overcome all of his challenges in life and his ability to forgive are some of the qualities that I have since acquired and am thankful for.
The power of my grandfather was both physical and mental and emotional. I have only ever seen him cry once and that was during my grandmother’s funeral. He overcame his past, he grandfathered many grandchildren many of which he got to meet, he lived till he was 84 years old, he forgave himself and many other people, he finally healed, he showed his resilience and the ability of our people! My grandfather is one of the many examples of great and wonderful people that we are. We will overcome all of our challenges and make everyday a day that we learned and forgave!