Valerie’s Voice from La Ronge

Valerie G. Barnes Connell Jordan
Northern Advocate
Spring is beginning to feel more normal this year, whatever normal is except a setting on a clothes dryer, that is.
It’s taken some time to get back to some kind of normal following our five-day trip that ended up taking two-and-a-half weeks.
The month, actually going on two, has had many ups and downs, as we recover from our trip, and live with what’s happening around us.
We became more conscious of the COVID with the government’s deregulation at the beginning of March. I think we became more anxious at that point than we were in all the two years before.
We try to stay away from crowds, socially distance and wash, wash, wash our hands often. And it’s worked.
Then, out of the blue I got sick. A bad flu. It’s probably been 10 years since I had flu, or anything like it. I’m a terrible patient!
It takes me back to my childhood. My mother, who was an only child and ended up looking after her parents through illness before they died, was a tyrant when it came to illness. She was a strong, gentle tyrant, but firm.
If we sneezed, she was sure we had a cold. Then she would tell us it was going to turn to pneumonia. And, we were informed, if we got pneumonia, she was going to call a cab and send us to the Civic. The Civic was our general hospital in Ottawa. Not a place you wanted to go, according to my mother.
Whenever I was sick, I remember my mother fixing me up on the living room couch, pulling her big sitting room chair over beside the couch and there she sat. Nothing could ever get me, I am sure. It’s a wonderful memory. As I write, I can feel her strength and protection with me.
This has been an eventful month, with plans for Pride Month planning, the celebration of World Peat Day with our For Peat’s Sake: Protecting Northern Saskatchewan Muskegs’ events: a Speaker’s Forum with author, Ed Stuzik and Muskeg Walk. News of these events can be found on the Facebook page of the same group name.
We participated in the Traditional Culture Healing Camp, a make up camp because the annual event could not be held last year because of COVID, in Stanley Mission. Fires burned close to the camp in recent days, but it was saved; we are grateful to firefighters and all others who worked to support the people of Stanley Mission during the wildfire crisis.
Ty’s House, an NorthSAsk Special Needs (NSN) facility opened this past month, and we will have more news of that in July’s edition of the Northern Update.
James Irvine participated in the World Ironman competitions in Utah this spring and we’ll hear his story in the next month also.
A group 14 participated in Journeyman Power Technician course at Northlands College facilitated by Ptarmigan Consulting of La Ronge between March 1 and the end of May. Will hear more about that in July’s edition.
We visited Culture camps in Sucker River, Senator Myles Venne School (SMVS) and Churchill Community High School (CCHS).
We visited Cumberland House and found much happening in that beautiful community, not the least of, a better road than the last time I visited.
We attended the first Anniversary of the Cumberland House Cree Nation’s (CHCN) signing of a Declaration on Jurisdiction and Protection of the Saskatchewan River Delta “affirming our Nation’s leadership and commitment to the conservation, stewardship, and utilization of our traditional and economic territory,” quoted from a CHCN news release.
Meanwhile, we have also been getting into the gardening season with the opening of our 2022 season of the La Ronge Airport Community Garden now that the threat of snow seems to have ended.
When I talk of “we”, like the Queen, it’s “My husband and I.” Hugh has generously accompanied me around to different events.
While I’ve recovered from the flu, I haven’t gotten my energy back yet, but it’s coming, for which I’m thankful.