Nanaboozhoo (Greetings in the Name of Ojibwe First Teacher)!
‘Edge of the Bush’ was established in 2019 as a social enterprise to create an ‘ethical space‘ between Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Holders and settler colonial institutions seeking to engage in Truth and Reconciliation following Waabizheshi Doodem (Ojibwe Marten Clan) protocols and old-time Ojibwe Bush Teachings of Asemaa Nitam (Sacred Tobacco First).
These old Ojibwe teachings come from Dr. Gokoomis (Grandmother) Jacque(line) Lavallée’s Doodoom (Mother) Agnes Abiitang Bimaadjiwan and her Aunties from Shawanaga, Sagamok, and Nayaashingaaming (Cape Croker) around the Georgian Bay in what is now called Ontario, Canada (Lavallée, 2022). Her Dede (Father), Norman Lavallée from Nayaashingaaming (Cape Croker), belonged to Waabizeshi Doodem (Ojibwe Marten Clan) because of his mixed Boodewaadami/Algonquin-Waabanaakii/Wemitigoozhi (French) blood (Lavallée, 2022). Even though he was Roman Catholic, he built their family home at the ‘edge of the bush’ off the Shawanaga reservation so that Gokoomis (Grandmother) Jacque’s family could continue to practice these old Ojibwe Teachings, Traditional Life-Ways, and Healing Practices with non-interference at a time when the Government of Canada made them illegal (Lavallée, 2022).
‘Edge of the Bush’ as a social enterprise reimagined this old strategy to create a sovereign space at the edge of colonized institutions for these Four Directions Teachings that have always recognized the equality of Asian, Indigenous, Black, and White Knowledges in relationship to Mother Earth and Father Sky. From this space at the edge of these Ojibwe Bush Teachings,
It is our mission to invite all Peoples/Nations to come back into respectful relationships with each other, Mother Earth, and Father Sky so that the generations to come grow up knowing their Sacred Place in relationship to the Creation.
Edge of the Bush partners with First Nations, non-profits, charities, childcare agencies, school boards, colleges, universities, and businesses to promote Indigenous-led, land-based learning under the direction of Dr. Gokoomis Jacque Lavallée and her Oshkaabewis (Sacred Helper, Messenger, Fire Keeper, Lodge Caretaker) Dr. Hopi Martin.
Dr. Gokoomis (Grandmother) Jacque(line) Lavallée Ed.D, from Shawanaga First Nation recently earned her Doctorate of Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto just before her 80th birthday where she recorded aspects of her life story to demonstrate Asemaa Nitam (Tobacco First): Indigenous Healing Practices within the Ojibwe Tradition (2022). She also holds her Second (Teaching) Degree in the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge, and continues to act as ‘elder-in-residence’ at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT). She is a proud Anishinaabe Ikwe (Ojibwe Woman), Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother, a ‘professor of the Oral Tradition’, Storyteller, Singer, and Dancer.
Dr. Hopi Lovell Martin, Oshkaabewis (Sacred Helper, Messenger, Fire Keeper, Lodge Caretaker) earned his PhD in Ojibwe Developmental Psychology and Education from OISE/UT through his research of Listening to Land as Teacher in Early Childhood Education (2021) which brought forward an Ojibwe Anishinaabe perspective of ‘how learning happens’. As a mixed race Lenape/Briton/European born in the United States without tribal belonging, this research grew from his experience of being ‘named’ and ‘claimed’ by his Niiyawe’enh (Namesake), Dr. Gokoomis Jacque Lavallée, her family, and the traditional responsibilities of her Dede’s Waabizheshi Doodem (Ojibwe Marten Clan) in the urban context of Toronto, Ontario, Canada where he now lives with his family, down the street from his ‘Auntie Jacque’ (Martin citing Lavallée, 2021). The ‘Seasonal Pedagogy‘ that emerged from this Indigenous, land-based research suggests an ethical approach for Peoples/Nations from all Four Directions to come into relationship with Traditional Ojibwe Bush Knowledge through a growing network of ‘Bush Schools’ that are being established alongside settler approaches to early years education.
Our logo was designed by Dr. Gokoomis (Grandmother) Jacque, Dr. Hopi Martin, and Carleton Wilson based on the principles of this work of inviting Peoples/Nations from all Four Directions to that old-time meeting place between worldviews at the ‘edge of the bush’.
Gichi Miigwech (A Big Thank You)!