Good morning. We headed off to Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, yesterday morning after the kids headed to school and learned that the Elder we were going to see came to Fort Nelson, so we had passed him on the highway. Instead of turning around and coming home, as originally planned, we got to see family and friends we don’t often get to see.
On the way to Fort Liard, Greg and I talked about how he felt coming home and he shared he felt anxious. Ever since his dad passed away, he hasn’t gone to his home community very often. It’s usually only under my urging that we go or we go as a family for community events, but even those times, are few and far between. We probably only go once or twice a year, if that. I recall not going for about two or three years, and I think we went for a funeral.
I talked to him and told him how important his connection to his community is, for his healing and wellbeing and for our kids. They are a part of Acho Dene Koe (ADK); it is their family and community, too. I shared with him how much I love Fort Liard because it brought us together, and that had I never had the connection to Fort Liard, we wouldn’t be together. Fort Liard brought us together. I am so thankful for that.
My heart is connected to Fort Liard and the ADK people and has been for over 20 years now. It’s funny because I asked my Uncle Bonzo at the conference a few days ago if he had ever partied there, like I did, and he said he had. I think that’s funny that my uncle used to party there, too. He’s 40 plus years my senior. That’s how my connection started there, it revolved around partying, and through that I gained family and friends and the connection has since remained. Although those choices no longer control my life, I always love going back to Fort Liard; it will always be my other home.
We visited Greg’s elderly aunt and uncle at the Senior Citizen’s complex, got to take his Mom for a cruise, visited his cousin Derwin and got to meet his new baby girl, Dayna, stop in at his Band Office, and visit the craft shop. If you’re ever in Fort Liard, the craft shop and Liard Valley General Store are must stops. I love to just browse at all the items they carry. The ADK people are culturally rich and it shows in their traditional crafts. The craft shop has some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. Wow. Before leaving, we bought a piece of Greg’s family’s work, a tiny Dene drum ornament made by his uncle Pierre Berreault. I got some earrings and we bought my Mom an ornament of a little pair of wrap-arounds. I wanted them to remind her of her Mom, my Grandma Mary.
So, that was our day yesterday, a little trip to Fort Liard and ADK territory, and our other home. Like I said, I’m so thankful for Fort Liard because it brought Greg and I together. Through years of partying to today, it was all meant to be and I have never regretted one day of my life, it brought me the best parts of that little community – my husband, Gregory.
Today is a new day. I am thankful.