Introducing Shared Path’s Community Engagement Intern: Jenna Dumoulin
Written by Admin, Admin •
Hello, Watchay! My name is Jenna Dumoulin and I am pleased to join Shared Path for eight weeks as your Community Engagement Intern. I am an eighteen-year-old Indigenous woman and a member of Taykwa Tagamou First Nation. I grew up in a semi-isolated Northern community and I have always been passionate about Indigenous rights and bringing awareness to issues such as Idle No More, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Truth and Reconciliation, and Shannen’s Dream.
Throughout high school, I was exposed to many different beliefs and misconceptions about Indigenous peoples, which inspired me to research and educate myself further so that I would be prepared to engage on hard topics with my peers. I have always been motivated to join different clubs, such as Student Council, Jack Chapters, and the District School Board Ontario North East Student Senate, so that I could help build inclusive environments and plan activities for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.
An annual event I experienced with my community that may be unusual to those who do not live in the northern parts of the province is Kashechewan First Nations Evacuation. Volunteering at the Kashechewan Evacuation throughout high school helped me understand a little about land use and planning before I found Shared Path. Every year, the Albany River poses a threat of flooding due to the ice break-up that occurs every spring. Ice shifts and creates a large rush of river flow that has the potential to ruin homes and risk lives, forcing many families to flee Kashechewan and take refuge in communities such as Cochrane, Kapuskasing, and Timmins, Ontario.
No family wants to keep uprooting their lives every spring as Kashechewan has had to do for the past two decades. Kashechewan has made plans to relocate their community just 30 kilometers south of the river, however it will take another decade to put the relocation plans into action. This also means it will be another decade of relocating every spring.
The relocations in 2020 and 2021 were made more complicated by the global pandemic. The community had to live off the land in tents instead of being hosted by other communities. Members of the armed forces had to be flown in to help set up. It is likely that the Kashechewan will have to face another year of having to live in tents because the risk of the COVID-19 infection would be life-threatening for many of their members should they be relocated south. All factors considered, it is not surprising that over these past two decades, land use and community planning has been at the forefront of the Kashechewan First Nation’s focus and will continue to be until everyone is safe and comfortable year-round.
I hope that my time with Shared Path will allow me to build on what I am passionate about – finding a common ground between non-Indigenous peoples and Indigenous peoples, education, activism, creating conversation, and finding the true history of what is now Canada and why we need to honour it.
With Shared Path, I would love to further my understanding and learn more about treaties and the nations within the Greater Toronto Area as most of my knowledge is with the Cree peoples of Treaty 9 territory. I am excited to learn more about land use planning and how it applies to the relationship between Indigenous people and settlers. I am also looking forward to developing my communication skills and learning new things as I enter my second year of a communications degree at the University of Ottawa. This is a great opportunity and I am so glad to be with Shared Path for the summer!