Treaty 2 Territory – In January of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an outbreak; a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Two months later, on March 11th, 2020, the world came to a stand still when the WHO declared a Pandemic due to the Covid-19 virus.
Schools across the country closed, and the schools in our Local Nations were no different. There were a lot of unknowns regarding COVID-19, and for the most part, all we knew was that we needed to start preparing for potential outbreaks throughout our territory. Interagency meetings began to take place daily. Security Checkpoints went up to protect our Nations. Turtle Island, and all those who live on our continent were told to “Stay home”.
Ebb & Flow First Nation Education Authority Director, Arlene Mousseau along with the Education Authority Team stepped up to do whatever possible to protect Knowledge Keepers, children, and families. For three months, E & F Education Team managed our Security Checkpoints. Additionally, like an army, the team ordered, prepared and delivered hundreds of food hampers to approximately 500 homes in Ebb & Flow and Bacon Ridge. School work and tablets were also delivered to each home for students to continue at home learning.
This selfless hardworking team of helpers continuously went above and beyond what was expected from any community organization. With the arrival of summer and all events such as fairs, and powwows being cancelled, families needed safe, affordable activities to take part in (as children had literally been cooped up indoors for months).
The Education Team spent many days, evenings, and weekends investing time and dollars towards the restoration of Ebb & Flow First Nation’s Historic Eagle Island. Tons of landscaping, brush cutting, road maintenance, building of facilities, painting, and beautifying went into the grounds. A cement basketball court was constructed along with a sand volleyball court. A dozen inflatable bouncing castles were purchased and set up for children.
Eagle Island “Beach” was always a popular place for families to gather, however after the floods in recent years, the area needed a great amount of work. For many in the Nation, it’s more than just a beach.
There is a rich history at Eagle Island. A post recently by Ebb & Flow First Nation member Wanda Levasseur shared, “I’d like go stamp a plaque on the grounds too about the history of the traditional lands that we have at Eagle Island. Our Great Grandparents held ceremonies there and planted before there were any treaties signed. Our Grandfather loved that place very much, he had his own home there before any roads were made to the Island crossing only by boat. Our oldest uncle was born at Island, Daniel Levasseur, as well as our uncle Fred Levasseur. Much later in the 1980’s is when our Grandpa had Sundances at the Eagle Island”.
Miigwech for sharing that Wanda.
Respecting and taking care of Mother Earth, reviving Eagle Island became more of a hobby to the team. They spent a great deal of time there with Knowledge Keepers dropping in to visit throughout the summer. Knowledge Keepers were taken for rides on the Education Department’s Pontoon Boats. They enjoyed sitting around the fire listening to fiddling tunes while sipping tea.
A year and a half later, we are still here. Still in Code Red, and living in a pandemic. The hot humid days have returned. I went for a ride to Eagle Island a few days ago, and upon pulling in, who do I see? Arlene Mousseau and her incredible team of helpers. Cutting grass, painting and placing benches, fire pits, picnic tables, bathroom facilities, and beautifying the grounds with wooden planters full of flowers.
For the past week, the beach shoreline has been jam packed. The docks are back in place. Families are swimming, and having picnics. A majority of youth and adults here are vaccinated. Members still practice social distancing, and wear masks when necessary.
The world may still be in a pandemic, but you wouldn’t know that seeing beautiful Eagle Island in Ebb & Flow First Nation. The Nation continues to heal and thrive in a place their ancestors once lived and did ceremony.
It is the hope, and expectation of all members and visitors to respect Eagle Island. Our children, families and Knowledge Keepers deserve a safe place to gather and create memories.
Miigwech to Education Authority Director Arlene Mousseau, Assistant Director Darcy Malcolm, Doris Baptiste Houle, Linda Racette, Sheena Houle, Elaine North, Kelly Houle, Chris Davis, Linda Davis, Lorne Malcolm, Lori Malcolm, Peggy Houle, Ivan Houle, Tyrone Desjarlais, John North, and so many others, along with volunteers for your tenacious, unwavering and devotion to our Nation.
The Government of Treaty 2 Territory is grateful to have such a beautiful gift of land and water for us to acknowledge the making of Treaty 2 – 150 years ago. We look forward to hosting our 4 Day Sacred Fire, and Ceremonies at Eagle Island during the third week of August. A day of family activity and entertainment will also take place.
Congratulations to the Ebb & Flow First Nation for preserving Eagle Island! Miigwech for always being such amazing hosts while our Treaty 2 Government visits the beautiful Nation of Kaka Kwe Ke Jeong! Giigaawaabamin.
Submitted By: Marlene Davis, Communications Keeper
Last modified: June 14, 2021