I come from Canada, my home is surrounded by trees, plants, and wild life among so many other things.  I am grateful for my home.  So I thought it was time to write another part of me for my readers here in wordpress.  I am Native Canadian, an Ojibway indian whose worked hard to educate herself and raise a good family.  I’ve done well.  I am fortunate.  At one time, long ago there was a special man who shared my life but is now gone onto the spirit world.  He is my father and I want to share him with you.  My father was a man who was raised in the wilderness of the North.  He never went to school but he was smart in the ways of life and nature.  He accomplished many things in his life and he was even of service to his fellow man.  He did a lot of good things.  A strong man, he had lost his parents by the time he was sixteen years of age.  He was the oldest of his siblings and he was the last of his family to take the “spirit” journey in life.  I would remember the work he did to survive and to support his family.  In the winter, anytime between the end of November to January he would leave into the bush for weeks at a time.  The days consisted of an early start for him, he’d complete his daily chores for my mother and I.  Fetch fresh water, cutting wood to last a few days, and checking any snares that needed to be checked.  By 9 a.m when I’d rise, he was done everything.  My mother and he would go into town (a 15 min. walk) and collect items that he would need.  Flour, salt, lard, tea, sugar, baking powder, rice, soap, and some other small items.  There was always a large wooden sled that carried everything he needed.  My mother would help him pack.  He carried blankets, tarp, canvas tent, a pillow, his food, gas, his clothing and his gun, ax and knife.  It always was something they’d plan for, planning was usually a few days.  On the day he’d leave I was happy but sad.  I was happy because I knew it was like an adventure that maybe I’d get to see one day.  But sad because I knew I’d miss him for two weeks, sometimes three.  This was repeated every year.  The reason he took this journey every year was to collect furs, usually beaver furs, sometimes martens as well.  And he sold them once he had cleaned and dried them which usually took four days to do.  This was a way for my father to make money to feed his family.  As I got older, I began to realize the task that my father endured all those years and the danger that surrounded him every day.  And I began to imagine it.  There he was, in the middle of nowhere.  Sometimes, it was near the shore of a lake or in the middle of a bush.  He had to assemble his sleeping quarters, cutting out logs to create the shape of the tent, which may have taken a whole day.  He also needed to cook for himself, so he’d build a outdoor fire area where he’d cook his meals.  And by then, it would be night, so he’d retire for the day.  I imagined he prayed to the Great Spirit for his stay, his life, and for his family.  My father had great connections to our spirituality, more than I knew.  But the days to come would include weathering the sometimes changing conditions of the winter north and getting as much done as he could as time was limited.  He was also an early riser, and he’d wake by 5:30 a.m and he’d be asleep by 6 p.m.  So, not only did he have to mind the weather, he also had to be careful of wild animals such as wolves.  He once did mention to me that his camp was watched by wolves one winter when he and his brother were out one winter.  He said he had to keep a fire on all night to keep them at bay.  Being in the forest in the middle of winter, I’m sure, was no easy feat but he sacrificed himself to do it every year.  I still consider him the bravest man I have ever known.  My father was a friendly man as well, to non-natives.  Every year, sometimes twice.  In the month of August, sometimes July he would accompany his American friends to the north for hunting.  He always spoke highly of one gentleman by the name of “Lee.”  Lee had white hair and he’d always travel with two or three of his friends from the United States to pick up my father and either go fishing or hunting.  He was a kind man.  Upon returning from their journey, my father was given his pay including all the food supplies that was not used at camp.  I did not complain.  So, my father was open and friendly with people.  An admirable trait, I thought.  But since my father was a well established bush man, he was often hired to build camps and cabins in remote areas and he was even chosen to help with search parties.  A task that he wasn’t always fortunate with finding a live person but he completed the job he was hired for.  My father had seen a lot of things in his time and not all of it was pleasant.  But he did the best he could with what the Creator had given him and that’s all what most of us can do.  He lived and died when he was 68 (but some believed he was much older) and I think it was because of his hair which was completely white.  I knew that he must have carried many stories and many sorrows of his own but I believe he made the best father anyone could ask for.  He embraced the change of life style with fur trade with the whites, and moving into a hamlet with a population of three hundred people, mostly whites where he raised his family.  Sadly, alcoholism would play a part in his life and some of his children were adopted into foster care.  One of them being myself, his last child.  But the memories I hold of my father are great ones and still to this day, there has never been a man like him in this world.  I vow to challenge the negative over the positive and see my life in a positive way, knowing my father did what he knew and I do not condemn him for that.  I celebrate my life today because of it.  I am alive and I live a healthy lifestyle because of the things I learned from him and my mother.  And that is something no one can judge.  Ojibway elder