Nzhishenh perry uncle Perry McLeod-Shabogesic Aandisoket Indizhinikaaz, Crane Clan, Nipissing First Nation What are your teachings surrounding being an uncle? My first experience around uncles, growing up on the rez, was first with my dad’s brothers and then I got to know some of my mom’s brothers. I got a glimpse of what roles they played, not really thinking that I would be one like that later on, but I saw the uncles as being a lot of fun. They would spend time with me. At different times they would call me over because they had a connection so they wanted to talk to me and see what I was doing and they were interested in me. As I grew up and began to have my nieces and nephews, I began to try to emulate that same thing, to tease them, to get to know them, speak to them as an equal way, in a sense, and talk to them when they’re having a hard time, like my uncles would talk to me when I was small. I didn’t really think about it, it’s just what you do, it’s what you experience, and what you see, and what you learn, so you just kinda start doing it. It’s not until later when you learn about the roles of uncles and aunties that you begin to look back and go, “Oh yeah, okay, I can see, I see how that worked.” So, it’s sort of a natural thing. 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 only one thing that I’m going to share in my experience as an uncle: to show my nieces and nephews that you make mistakes in your life but it’s what you do with those mistakes and it’s what you learn. How you show your family that you can change, you can learn, you can heal from that. Because we all make mistakes, we all make choices that cause pain. To show that you can make amends and you can acknowledge that and heal from it. Sometimes when you’re in the family, it’s hard to see that, but if you’re a little bit further away, those family members see that. For me, there is lots of things but that comes to mind. Excerpt from the interview with Perry McLeod-Shabogesic by Elizabeth Eshkibok, Cultural Practitioner at the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre.