Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 1: Soil Ingestion Research Project ~ Cold Lake First Nations (English Bay)

DAY 1:

Cold Lake First Nations - English Bay Community Centre
All ten (10) participants met at the Cold Lake First Nations E-Bay Community Centre.  There are eight (8) of us participants from the First Nations surrounding the St. Paul Area.  The other participants are our two (2) researchers from the University of Ottawa.  There was still issues with a viable area to set up camp; therefore, it was settled we would set up camp beside the old catholic church next to the CLFNS E-bay Community Centre.  This is a beautiful area and we will be staying in this area until Saturday.  Once the other researcher arrives from Ottawa, we will decide if we are moving to another camp away from the road and more closer to oil activity so we are able to test the medicines, gathered food, & hunted food etc. and the oil activities effect on our food chain.

Before we started the project, we attended the weekly soup & bannock at the centre & had excellent homemade apple pie, hmmmmmm good.

Later we offered tobacco & sweetgrass to two local Elders for blessings, support, & prayers during this project and to keep us safe and to ensure our success.  The Elders had wise words and we are so grateful for their support.  Later that day we set up our camp, got to know each other and become a little more familiar with each other around the camp fire.

One of the crazy events was a lady drove up & asked what was happening here.  So I explained we were Ginny Pigs for a research project that will test the effects of industry like oil, jet planes etc. on our environment and our traditional medicines, foods etc.  I found out she was my mom’s first cousin, Alice, so she told me to jump in her jeep & she was going to show me a excellent berry picking spot, it was going to take only 5 minutes.  Well, 5 minutes turned into 40 minutes because she drove us right into a slough lol.  Thank goodness for cell phones, so we called our strong rescuers, my Ken and her brother, David.  We laughed & laughed when we sunk and she said, “now they will say that it’s because we are woman”.  So when her brother came, he was trying to be grumpy & I told him, it was okay, we would let them save us & he could have bragging rights for the week lol.  I told my auntie, at least we have a great story to tell now.

I was glad to meet more family and I also found out another person in the project is my uncle from Whitefish Lake.  It sure is a small world.  I am very grateful for this day & to be allowed to participate in this project.

We got the low down on our role:

1.   We gather, hunt, fish etc. & conduct ourselves as Aboriginal peoples doing our traditional ways.
2.   Everything we gather, hunt etc., the researchers need a good sample for testing, this includes helping them get fecal samples from animals like bears, deer, rabbits etc.  The researchers will also be testing the soil in areas we gather etc.
3.   We are to record all our food intake daily
4.   We have to do one to two urine samples a day
5.   We have to do one to three fecal samples a day
At the end of the day, I know this will help our people to prove our environment etc. is being affected negatively and industry needs to make better choices in how they are affecting our land & our people.

I am doing this also because I want to know what has given my mother cancer.  We can never completely pin point the cause but we can get a better idea.

Our Camp
On a lighter note, I have the biggest tent & feel like a queen living it all good.  We all had a good laugh when I realized the size of my tent I bought from Canadian Tire.  First time setting it up but man, I am comfortable.  I feel like a high class nehiyaw lol.  I could have 8 more people in my tent & only little ol me is all in here. 

No comments: