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Kettle & Stony Point First Nation History Culture Stories

Elder Story
by Shelly Bressette

“We did a lot of research, me and a young woman by the name of Marian Vandenboerman.  So I don’t know if she’s still around this area, but she was one of the students that I worked with.  And again, we came back to the Elders, and at that point we were asking them, ‘Can we take your photos?’

And we had Alf Rider from the beach area take photographs of all the Elders.  And I remember he went to take Lottie’s picture and I think she was up on the roof, fixing her roof, she was in her eighties then.  And you know, she’d get her hair, and straighten her hair out, and really pose.  But we never got a picture of her, for some reason they never turned out.  But at that time she was painting pictures of the ones you see of Oshawnoo and I think she did one of Cornellius Shawnoo from her memory ‘cause her vision wasn’t that good.

She used a magnifying glass and a paint brush.  That’s how she painted those pictures, and they were up on the walls in her little living room.  So that’s what she did, basically she was a little sufficient woman. Like, she took care of herself, and people would show up at her door step and she’d feed ‘em.

I remember Emery was just a little boy and he was always over there visiting her.  So she said, ‘This is my company.’  And it would be Emery sitting there.   I mean, basically all we did was document whatever was told to us, and in some cases, say with Lottie, we’d go there.  And she’d say, ‘Okay, you can’t write any of this down, you have to remember this.’

And, well, she kinda had a problem with my coworker too ‘cause she didn’t trust her.  So I’d go back and visit her, and she’d say (you know it was like a quiz), ‘Well how many sons did Oshawnoo have?’  That’s what she’d say.  Then you’d have to name their names, what was this, you know, what was the significance of this date.’

She could describe how Tecumseh looked just through her memories and her story telling from the stories she heard.  Like, say her grandfather, and she described him and she said, ‘If you ever see a photograph of him with the medallion showing,’ (or, not a photograph, but a painting of the medallion showing), ‘You know it’s a fake because he would never show the face of that medallion.  He always tucked it into his clothing.”

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This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through Canadian Culture Online.
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