SKHC Calendar 2019

Nzhishenh brandon uncle Brandon Petahtegoose What are your teachings surrounding being an uncle? About 3 years ago, I was approached by a young woman who didn’t have the father of her child around. This person was a distant relative and she came to me because she wanted an uncle for her son. It was the first time that I was approached like that. To say, “Can you be there for my son and can you spend some time with him 2 or 3 times a week?” and so I had to really think about what that meant, what that meant to that child. Being in that child’s life because I’m not that child’s father, I’m not his brother, he’s looking to me like an uncle, so I had to really think about that. Like, what does that mean? For me, that was being a positive male role model in this child’s life, something that he doesn’t have regularly [or] doesn’t have it at all. You do have some male role models in the school but outside of the school he didn’t have anything like that. He didn’t have uncles in his life or at least one dedicated uncle who could work with him. This young boy, I spent quite a bit of time with him and now I don’t spend as much time with him but we have a relationship. Now there’s always going to be that connection. But for a while, when I was being his uncle, it was taking care of him and that’s all it was about. When he felt sad, I would come up to him and I’d give him a big hug, Because that tobacco offering was given to me and the teachings just came. It was like, I’m going to be in this child’s life now. That’s what came out. There would times that I would be sitting down at the house and he would come and just jump on my lap and that was okay, he feels safe with me. That to me, it was like I made a big difference I think in this child’s life. That he feels safe to be around me and other men, Native men. Excerpt from the interview with Brandon Petahtegoose by Elizabeth Eshkibok, Cultural Practitioner at the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre.