Executive director of Barrie Native Friendship Centre (BNFC) Samantha Kinoshameg, “with a lot of Christian influence” celebrated Christmas growing up. “With my parents, it’s moved more towards the solstice celebration and that change of season,” she said. Storytelling is a big part of that celebration. She was joined by other Indigenous members of BNFC, Greg Dumoulin, Paige Russell and Ernestine Baldwin. Baldwin is an Elder Advisor and co-founded it among others with Cheryl P. Sutherland in her basement.
The new podcast will be called Shining Water. “The original name for Lake Simcoe was shining water because of the way the sun falls on the lake,” Paige Russell said about the history behind the name of the podcast.
Baldwin said that there were no Indigenous people around when she moved to Barrie in 1976. “It wasn’t until we started the center that people started getting together.” She learned about sharing circles and smudging from other Indigenous people.
Russell didn’t grow up with the Indigenous culture. “A lot of young Indigenous people are hungry for the culture,” she said. “People can sit at home and, and learn (through the podcast) about different aspects of our culture.”
Dumoulin, who lived in Barrie his whole life, didn’t grow up with culture either. “I had never been in this building until I started working here in the fall of 2020,” he said.
Kinoshameg said “different generations have different kinds of connections with the friendship centre.” Due to the pandemic, access to the centre is restricted. “I really miss talking with people and hearing their stories.” She started the podcast because “I think people also miss hearing from us.”
Other hosts were happy to listen to Baldwin share her stories – from her childhood on the reserve to moving to Toronto because her mother was afraid that her children would be taken to the residential school and the founding of the Centre.
When Baldwin was little an elder lady named Maggie Jones would stay at her parent’s place during winter. “She told stories and I really just sat and listened to her. She told the stories of different things about bear walking and stuff,” Baldwin said. “They’re all in the language. She didn’t speak English.” After a month living with Baldwin’s family, Jones would then move to live with another family.
“That is so cool,” Kinoshameg responded to Baldwin’s story.
(Watch the full podcast)