The first destination was Sault Ste. Marie – which is in the Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the land is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg. This city is on St Mary's River, which divides the Canada-US border. The pandemic looks to have seized most activity on the international bridge, and locals commented on how much quieter the city was.
Second destination was Thunder Bay – which is in the Robinson-Superior Treaty territory and the land is the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg. Its on the way to Thunder Bay that you get to see the world's largest freshwater lake - Lake Superior, formally known as gichi-gami meaning "great sea." The image of the Sleeping Giant is what Thunder Bay is known for and has been the center of story telling for centuries. An Ojibway legend calls the giant as Nanabijou, the spirit of the Deep Sea Water. The spirit turned to stone when the secret location of a rich silver mine, now known as Silver Islet, was revealed to white men. A local told me that the mountain on the right beside Nanabijou, is his pipe that he set down before resting. The Terry Fox monument site is not far from the point where Terry ended his 5,342 km run for cancer research - the Marathon of Hope on June 28, 1981.
The next destination was Winnipeg - This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties. I acknowledge that we visited on ancestral lands, on Treaty One Territory. These lands are the heartland of the Métis people. The last two images were in Regina - situated on the territories of the nêhiyawak, Anihšinapek, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakoda, and the homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation.
The the first three images are taken in Winnipeg at the Oodena Celebration Circle. Oodena, Ojibwe for “heart of the community”, is the name of the historical circle which pays homage to the 6,000 years of Aboriginal peoples in the area. Just outside of the circle overseeing the Red River is a white carved granite stone to pay tribute to Manitoba's Missing and Murdered Indiginous women and girls from their respective nations. "For many families of missing, murdered women there is no grave or place to remember, so this can be that place." Explained Nahanni Fontaine, special adviser to the province.
For those interested to see the Oodena Celebration Circle for themselves, the sculptures can be toured virtually on Google Maps street view.
In Saskatchewan we passed through seemingly endless farmlands and were lucky to see a beautiful storm that showered over the fields.
We passed through Calgary - comprised of five First Nations: Kainai (Blood), Siksika, Piikani, Tsuut'ina and Stoney Nakoda. In addition, Métis peoples live in the region.
We drove around Calgary and we stopped only twice, to see the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre and the Centre St Bridge close by. The Cultural centre was closed and still is temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Visiting this Chinese community centre reminded me of the increase of anti-Asian racism around the world, especially in Canada and the US.
COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the anti-Asian racism that has always existed in Canada. Chinese communities faced more racism day to day from the Covid-19 outbreak. I’ve talked with my friends who’ve received racist remarks during the pandemic and I still see memes about it on social media.
Viruses know no borders and don’t care about your ethnicity or how much money you make, it’s important to understand that language can easily spark discrimination in times of fear, with dire consequences.
Image 4 is the Olympic ski jumps in Calgary for the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. The iconic 90-metre tower will be the only tower left on the hill since the other two ski jumps will but dismantled. They are past their life span and are too expensive to operate and maintain.
After miles of flatland, image 5 is our first glimps of the Canadian Rocky mountains.