mailGreat Read,

I just returned from “the beach”. That is what we called it as we packed up the car to head 2 1/2 hours west from Burlington from 1970 – 1984. There was a family run set of cottages right at the bottom of West Ipperwash Rd that was our destination. The cottages are no longer there as the Hiebiemer family sold the land and cottages, I want to say 1990 but I may be wrong there. There was a store, summer friends from all over Ontario and Michigan, so many great memories there.

In May 1995 I left for a job in Kelowna BC. I remember the drive out of the province like it was yesterday, passing that last “photo radar” van in Kenora felt great as the Conservative gouge was in full force and effect in those days. The 407 was still under construction, Harris was squashing social programs, was a good time to leave.

Once settled in Vernon, BC I found the same attitude towards First Nations there as I had grown up around every summer at Kettle Point. I followed the story, the shooting of Dudley George with great interest.

The fallout from that day sent a shock wave clear across the country – I felt closer to it then most – still do as I made sure I educated my boys during the drive there this past Tuesday. I want them to know what it means to be native in this country – the injustice – the poverty. The stigma passed on from generation to generation. That attitude I hope stops with my boys (4 and 6).  I want to raise them with the most respect for First Nations and all that has been taken from them. With the modern day social media machine I fear it will all be lost.

It was chilly and windy while we were there. That didn’t stop my boys from jumping in and out of the waves on the beach I grew up on. I gladly paid the $10 for the day pass knowing full well we would only be there an hour or so…I would have paid a hundred to see my sons on the beach I grew up on every summer. Everything looks so different. The cottages are SO BIG. The wind turbines pollute the landscape. Smokes are everywhere. The living conditions of First Nations and the local white attitude towards them has not changed. In our children there is hope.

Enjoyed your reminder.

JD Thorup