My Hometown: Moosonee, Ont.

Being able to reconnect with the land and adopt a traditional lifestyle is a precious gift.

Chrstie Anna Rickard with her husband in Moosonee, OntarioPhoto: Christie Anna Rickard

Loving Life in Moosonee

Born in Moose Factory Island, located about 12 miles inland from the James Bay coastline in northern Ontario, I spent my early childhood years in nearby Moose River Crossing. Our family returned to Moose Factory later, so my siblings and I could continue our education, as the local school had been closed down.

Moose River Crossing is situated along the only railroad track in Canada that reaches all the way up to the northern community of Moosonee, Ont., which later became – and still is – my true hometown.

While my siblings and I were growing up, I always sensed something was missing in my life, something fundamental to my very identity, to who I was and where I came from. Over the years, I began to learn more about my Native culture, the history and our way of life. Then, in 2009, I met a man who later became my husband. Being an ambassador of the land and a hunter, my husband taught me how to hunt, fish, set nets, snare rabbits, make a fire in the rain, read the weather and drive a boat. Even after having lived in Moosonee for 26 years, I had never experienced and learned so much on the land and the mighty Moose River, where the sunsets are breathtakingly beautiful, as I did in the relatively short time I’ve known my husband.

I am so thankful and proud to have been give the opportunity to lead this kind of lifestyle, which someday will be passed on to my grandchildren.

Today, I continue to trace my roots and try to live my life according to them. I have also been back to Moose River Crossing, after being away for many years. My older sister and only brother, both hunters, along with a few nephews and nieces, continue to carry on the traditions of our ancestors in Moose River Crossing.

Every year, our family gathers for a spring hunt, mainly geese and ducks. In summertime, we fish for sturgeon and, in the fall, we head out moose hunting. In addition to adding to our provisions for the year, these excursions are where our family stories and recollections are shared the most. And there are plenty of stories to go around, all of which are close to my heart and a big part of who I am today.

Originally Published in Our Canada

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