Two Burns Lake women who work at the Lakes District campus of the College of New Caledonia (CNC) have been using their writing skills to keep memories alive and educate people.
Lynn Synotte, responsible for marketing, recruitment and program linkages at CNC, will have a short story called ‘Memories of Apps’ Mill’ published in a book that will be launched on June 22, 2017 in Ontario.
“The story is about my memories growing up on a property known as “Apps’ Mill,” located in Brant County in southern Ontario,” explained Synotte.
Her piece was one of 16 short stories chosen to be included in the book called ‘Place settings: a County of Brant public library anthology,’ out of 50 submissions.
“My mother passed away recently and the piece was very nostalgic for me,” said Synotte. “I have lived in B.C. longer than I lived in Ontario, but when I go back to visit family we have always visited the mill, walked the trails and checked out our old haunts.”
Synotte will revisit her Ontario hometown again in June when she’s attending the book’s launch.
“This year we will be walking the trails without my mother… it still whispers of a great childhood.”
“It was nice to be able to share the memories of what it meant to my family,” she added. “The fact that a podcast was created of me reading my story, and the book itself, will be in the Brant County library makes me feel like our memories of living there will live on.”
Synotte, who used to be the editor of Lakes District News about 30 years ago, said this was not her first story published in a book. A story that she wrote called ‘Jack the Ghost,’ which tells the story of a ghost that is believed to haunt the Lakes District News office, was published in a book called ‘Paper trails’ in the 1990s.
Using writing as a tool to educate people
Corinne George, regional principal of the CNC Lakes District campus, has been publishing articles to educate people about the history of aboriginal people.
“I was born and raised on Witsuwit’en territories; therefore the words of our ancestors are absolutely foundational for me,” she said. “I strive to straddle the world of written word and the world connected to my ancestors in the best possible way in order to assist in educating those with regards to items of history that are often overlooked.”
George recently had three articles published. One of the articles, titled ‘Lillian Piché Shirt, John Lennon and a Cree grandmother’s inspiration for the song ‘Imagine,’’ is based on a portion of her master of arts thesis.
“My thesis centered on the collection of oral histories of aboriginal women involved in political, social, cultural, and economic grassroots activism,” she explained. “As an aboriginal woman who was born and raised on the Highway of Tears, I wanted to highlight the achievement and recognize the strength and courage of aboriginal women who faced ongoing barriers, discrimination, challenges, and marginalization.”
The other two articles – ‘Courage on the Highway of Tears’ and ‘Dilhtisnï Hibikinic: elders with strong knowledge and words’ – were both contributions to the newly published second edition of ‘Niwhts’ide’nï Hibi’it’ën – the ways of our ancestors: Witsuwit’en history and culture throughout the millenia.’
‘Courage on the Highway of Tears’ was based on aboriginal women who undertook initiatives in order to heighten awareness of the Highway of Tears.
‘Dilhtisnï Hibikinic: elders with strong knowledge and words’ acknowledges and recognizes the important work of interpreters who were trained to translate from witsuwit’en to english and from english to witsuwit’en. George says this was a vital component of the landmark Delgamuukw and Gisdaywa land claims trial in which the Gitksan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claimed ownership and jurisdiction over their ancestral territories.