NOKOMIS MY GRANDMOTHER
I dedicated this piece to my Grandmother Monica Nicholas. She was a big influence in my life because of her gift and because of the stories I would hear from my Aunts and Uncles. One story in particular was when she learned about the plants and their powers and she told her people that the Creator had given them to her Mother and for her to help her people with her knowledge.
Mum passed away when I was 6-7 years of age but her memory still lives strong, in me, and in her Great Grandchildren.
She had a tough life growing up on the shores of the St. Lawrence, in Quebec. She was sold to an older native farmer when she was a child.
I guess, before any contact with Europeans, it was a real struggle to survive, and so she was sold by her Father for some horses, in order for the family to survive. She had tried to get away, but her Mother told her that she had to go. Crying and still clutching on to her homemade doll, she was carried away in a horse and buggy. She didn’t know what was happening to her, she was so frightened. Her Mother had told her that she belonged to that Indian who had bought her now, and that she was going to be his wife.
That story stayed with me, and was told by my Aunt Eva Saulis, who told me that that is where we get our strength and resilience and for me to never forget my roots. And to always remember the true power of surviving as a Wabanaki woman. I believe her powers will always live on in my children, and my sister’s children.
After her first husband died, she married my Grandfather Charles Nicholas. They moved and settled all along the Tobique River until they reached Negootcook (Tobique), in the 1920’s.
My Grandfather was a farmer and basket maker and my Grandmother was given the gift of a Medicine Woman. They had seven children with one girl.