It’s been quite the journey these past four years — learning about my treaty heritage and the responsiblities associated with it. As part of this, I worked with some Nishnaabe members of the Stoney Point Reserve as they told their story of reclaiming their ancestral homeland: Aazhoodena/Stoney Point, which was turned into an army-training camp, called Ipperwash in 1942.
I became involved because the 1827 treaty that had guaranteed Stoney Point as exclusively Nishnaabe territory in perpetuity had also legitimized my forbears “settling” nearby. When I had learned enough about treaties from an Indigenous perspective — that they are grounded in a sharing relationship with responsibility to maintain the treaty relationship in good health passed down from generation to generation — I showed up at the site where the land reclamation efforts of the 1990s are still incomplete, wanting to learn what my responsibilities were to a badly broken treaty. They invited me to help them tell their story.
One of the first reviews of the book was in the Anishinabek News, which ended with: “Heather Menzies might not feel that her cultural background gives her the right to tell the stories of the Aazhoodenaang Enjibaajig, but treaty partners have responsibilities, and she has done well in trying to fulfill hers by giving them a voice.”
Here’s a video I did about it.
Our Long Struggle for Home: The Ipperwash Story, by members of the Aazhoodenaang Enjibaajig Nation, is available at Indigo Books and other book stores.