SKHC Calendar 2019

Nzhishenh karl uncle Karl Keeshig Wabano Giizis, Wolf Clan, Cape Croker What are your teachings surrounding being an uncle? There’s a lot to being an uncle. The aspirations to being an uncle are, well, you can find them in our Creation Story. With respect to uncle, who was the first uncle? In our Creation Story, we understand that to be Waynaboozhoo, sometimes known as Nanabush. We also know that he was the one that was without a name. So his story has a lot to do with what he did for Creation, his role as an uncle [and] why did he [did] what he did. He did a lot and he did it with a purpose and that was for the children that were to come. So if we understand our Creation Story and particularly Waynaboozhoo, he would be like a role model for us as an uncle. He played an important role. Uncles play an important role. I think all children should have an uncle. In many ways, they are surrogate parents. The things that they should teach, can teach, are men’s teachings related to fire, relationships to women, all of those things. I think if we have strong uncles, we’ll have strong communities. As an uncle who takes care of his family, what are the stories of the sacred, proud and protective role that you hold in embracing the safety of family? There’s an important responsibility—you’re, I don’t want to call it an extension of the family, but that’s how broad it is. (...) I think that role gets extended out into the community where they are OUR children, as a community. They aren’t my children or your children, they are actually our children. Roles as an uncle is very important in that. One role that I cherish is [that even though] I don’t have any daughters, I didn’t have any daughters, I realized that kind of relationship through my nieces. That’s something that being an uncle has given me. It’s one I take very seriously. Excerpt from the interview with Karl Keeshig by Elizabeth Eshkibok, Cultural Practitioner at the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre.