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Gwen Tuinman

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First Nations

Nahneebahweequay (1824-1865)–A Champion for Indigenous Land Rights

Nahneebahweequay—a woman of courage and tenacity—was born in 1824 to the Mississaugas of the Anishinaabe First Nation. Her name means upright woman. She became an activist for Indigenous land rights with her feet planted firmly in both her native heritage and the English world in which she was known as Catherine Sutton. Her fight for justice led her to meet with Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace.

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First Art Piece

I read an essay recently in which the writer reflects on the first piece of art she’d ever bought as a young woman. The purchase of this large gaudy painting, she declared years later, made no sense then or now. She deemed the colours too bright, and the subject matter unaligned with her cultural identity. By the final paragraph, however, she concludes that the painting reflected her mood at the time of purchase.

It got me to thinking about the first art I’d purchased. It’s become such a part of my environ that I haven’t considered it for some time. The piece is a stone sculpture by George Henry. I acquired it around 1978 at the gallery in Whetung Ojibwa Centre of Curve Lake, Ontario.

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Pioneer Illnesses: Catarrh and Ague

I’ve nearly worn out my DVD box set of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman from having watched it so often. Dr. Michaela Quinn had the cure for almost everything and often sought the council of her First Nation Cheyenne friends who taught her about medicinal plants growing in the wilds. Episodes often mentioned people suffering a catarrh or ague. These terms appear in a number of pioneer journals as well and I’ve always been curious about their meaning.

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