June 25, 2007
The following story was written by Ernest Etherington, from Fort Albany, Ontario. Ernest is enrolled in literacy classes at the Timmins Native Friendship Centre. This centre has produced a book entitled "Chay-pa-chi-moo-na – Telling Our Stories" for their Family Literacy Day project. The stories in the book were written by the learners.
My name is Ernest Etherington and I’m from Fort Albany, Ontario. I lived there for thirty-six years, which is most of my life. I quit school in grade 3 because I hated the residential school I was attending.
After quitting school, I spent most of my time in the bush with my grandparents. They taught me how to hunt, trap and fish with a net. I had fun out there with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins, brother and parents.
I eventually went back to school, a literacy program, in my thirties. My friends told me that it was too late to learn, but I knew that I could learn. I used to get paid for attending the literacy program at Northern College in Fort Albany. I never missed a day, even when I was sick. I also won the attendance award along with $500.
In August 2005, I came to Timmins to visit my brother. I liked Timmins, so I decided to stay. My brother told me about the literacy program here at the friendship centre and I applied. I also volunteer for the centre’s soup kitchens and whatever they need me for. My goal is to complete the LBS Program and find a job.
[This story was taken with permission, from The Spider's Web, Spring 2007, published by the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition (ONLC). It was reprinted from the book "Chay-pa-chi-moo-na – Telling Our Stories", published by the Timmins Native Friendship Centre.]