Day 7: Update from Lisa

August 20, 2009

Day 7 No rain last night so I had a better sleep! Our walk continued along Dayton Road 15 km east of Thessalon First Nation, we planned to walk all the way to the Mississaugi River railroad bridge where Grampa talked about hearing people fishing and cooking down by the river. This place is significant as it was the first time he heard his language and found comfort and safety since running away from the school.

We walked along quiet country roads today surrounded by fields of hay and in some areas bush, rocks, moss and sweetgrass. We started out around 10:30 am excited about getting to the railway bridge. By noon we were hungry so we found a nice flat rock to sit on perched up from the road. Just as we were settling into our meal a truck drove by, it was a municipal works truck and I noticed a Native guy driving. Shelley stared at the driver and then yelled “hey, hey, that’s Tom Dumont!” We all jumped up and ran after the truck, luckily it stopped and Shelley asked the man, “are you Tom Dumont?” and he said yes. Shelley explained who she was and who we were and explained that we are relatives. Just to let you know Tom Dumont is Uncle Tom and Aunt Gladis’ son. He lives in Thessalon and Shelley had mentioned we should call him but we didn’t get around to it. He had been driving some summer students around the county to show them the area and happened to drive along this back road where we were settling into a lunch at the roadside. Tom is my mom’s and Shelley’s dad’s first cousin, which makes him my second cousin. He greeted me saying “Are you one of Johnny Myers’ daughters?” I told him I was and he reminded us we are cousins. We explained the journey we were on and he told us he remembered hearing about Grampa running away from residential school story. He said that Grampa was afraid to talk about it even as an adult. Tom was so encouraging to us and gave us a map of the area so we could get to the bridge. He told us the train comes around 5pm-6pm, so we should aim to get there earlier. We talked for about half an hour he invited us over tomorrow night for a visit. He had to get back to work so he left us to our lunch and our new map!

We returned to our lunch all of us a little in shock of the amazing coincidence. Tom Dumont was so supportive and encouraging to us, it was really wonderful. After lunch we continued on towards the bridge, we realized for time sake we should take highway 17 to get to the railway tracks. Laura eventually came to meet us on the highway in the car so we could have her take some video and photos of all 3 of us on the bridge. We entered Mississaugi First Nation and found the dirt road that led to the tracks. Laura and I went to park in the shade for the dogs as Shelley and Gabe headed straight to the tracks and bridge. They had already gone across the bridge and back by the time I got to the bridge. It is a metal bridge, Tom Dumont said it hasn’t changed since before our Grampa had walked on it. He said that we will be walking on the very same metal our Grandfather walked on. The Mississaugi river is wide with strong currents and rocky shores. I tried to walk across this railway bridge and at a certain point of crossing I could see the rocks below through the gaps between the railway tracks and it made me dizzy. I couldn’t cross. I was disappointed with myself. I had been tree top trekking with the youth group at Enaahtig and recall one young boy who had such a difficult time with the heights that day. I could totally relate in this moment. I really wanted to do it, I thought my Grandfather did this so I want to do this but it didn’t happen that day.

We visited a house right on the river and next to the tracks. We talked to a Grandmother there who told us that there were a few houses on the river and an old trading post. She said that lots of people lived by the river in the summer time to fish. She lived there with her friendly family. We were thankful for her knowledge of the history of the area.
We were also thankful for her Grandson’s booster cables when we returned to the car to find our battery dead. It was a great day and the pain of my sore feet and blisters is fading in the background as this journey gets richer with the warm reception of family and community.

All for now.


6 Responses to “Day 7: Update from Lisa”

  1. Chris Says:

    Shelley, Gabe and Laura
    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with everyone in this blog, miigwich! I have been thinking about you for the past week and relieved to hear that your trek has been successful, positive and full of some pretty significant coincidences! This entry (day 7) drove it home for me- your trek involves so many people to share stories with you about places and a time you didn’t know… what a great experience.
    Take care and walk strong,

  2. mary Says:

    Hey! glad to hear you all are alive and well! happy belated birthday to Laura!

    This is just an amazing coincidence!

    so where are you now?


  3. Melanie Says:

    Hey Lisa, Shelley and Gabe! Sounds like you are all having a great adventure. I still see this story becoming a book someday. I love how descriptive the blog is as it makes me feel like I’m right there with you. Keep up the good work guys. My thoughts are with you : )

  4. Tammy Moore Says:

    I was given this link by Tom Dumonts daughter and after reading it I wanted to let you know that I think it is a great thing that you are doing. This is a wonderful way for all of us to walk in you grandfathers footsteps and I am sure that you are walking in many grandfathers footsteps.
    Good luck on your journey.

  5. sarah Says:

    Hi Lisa Shelley and Gabe,
    I just came back from Manitoulin Island to read some of entries. I love that you are sharing in your experience- Miigwetch. I’m thinking about you and care for you I know your journey will continue to go very well.

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