Maadookii Seniors Centre
< Vacant >
I/ Stephanie Akiwenzie
125 Maadookii Crest.
The elders are bridges to the old way
They are the custodians of the culture, for it is by the language and the stories that a people’s culture and history are known. Some of the stories
of the elders of Neyaashiinigmiing are told in two books about them published by the Band.
Here are stories of great hardship: residential school brutality, sacrifice and pain from the wars, hostility to their ancient claims and rights, poverty
and the grinding effects of the Indian Act.
And yet, shining through the hardship is their sense of dignity, humor and determination that must be at the heart of the reason we have survived
as a people. Not only survived, but thrived, for that spirit can be seen in the young as well. It can be seen in the advances the Band is making …
in how it is turning court-recognized commercial fishing rights into a viable economy and Nawash into a leader in fisheries management …
in how we are re-asserting our ancient responsibilities to all our relations by intervening when environmental harm threatens our traditional territories.
Elders are intricately involved with these initiatives. They have appeared in court to give testimony to our traditional ways. They are involved in running
a successful alternative justice program that uses traditional ways to reintegrate into the community people who have committed offences. They are
teaching Anishnabemowin (the Ojibway language) in the local schools and in the community. A 2004 Statistics Canada report indicates that Native
children who spend time with elders are more likely to do better in school.
Maadookii means “sharing” in our language. It is the name of the seniors’ group at Neyaashiinigmiing and also the building in which they meet.
Ladies Orchestra 1914
Standing, left to right:
Catherine Jones, Grace Lavalley, Lizzy Hilditch, Mary Akiwenzie, Amelia Jones.
Seated, left to right:
Ruby Hilditch, Delma Lamourex, Lizzy Desjardine, Virgina Keeshig (1914)
Seniors are a growing segment of our population. We estimate that by the year 2010 our on-reserve elder population will more than double. Many more
who might be living off reserve will want to return home.
The Maadookii Seniors Centre was started in 1990 with a $350 donation from elder Verna Johnston. That same year the Maadookii Seniors Group drew
up their constitution that set out their purpose and objectives:
- To allow the Seniors of Cape Croker an opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities in a safe environment that provides encouragement and fellowship.
- To serve the community,
- To unite and speak with one voice for the betterment of all Seniors.
- To raise funds for the Centre and for programs for elders.
Left to right:
Ron Andrews, Stella Johnston, Christine Keeshig (ED), Isabel Millette, Marie Morgan,
Programming at Maadookii
The first building was built by volunteers from the community. Since then, the Maadookii Centre has become a favorite meeting spot for other programs and activities. It is frequently used to host meetings and dinners with visiting groups from outside the reserve. Wakes are held here and are well attended by family, friends and the community. It is truly a sharing place, reflective of the elders themselves.
The Maadookii Centre is home to a number of services and activities for seniors.
- Home visits
- Snow removal and light repairs
- Native crafts
- Games (cards, bingo, scrabble) & entertainment
- Socials and other gatherings
- Day trips (the Centre has its own wheel-chair accessible bus)
- Ojibway language classes
- Support to travel to language conferences
- Interaction with other people and programs on reserve.