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Ballin’ for Our Elders

By Marietta Patabon

Late last summer, a heartfelt gesture of wanting to provide an amusing time for our elders presented itself to Debbie Meekis. Remarkably, an idea on how to fundraise a Christmas shopping trip for our elders was born.

“I just wanted to take them out where they can enjoy themselves and be out where they don’t have to worry about anything and just to be out,”  said Debbie. She said selling Bingo balls was suggested as the best way to shape this dream into reality.

Debbie works with Naotkamegwanning region’s elders everyday and she holds every recollection of the stories, gifts, and their happy memories she has met thus far.

Our elders adventured off to Black Bear Casino for two nights, and Duluth, Minnesota . Everyone enjoyed themselves, as Debbie recalls. The looks on their faces was the grateful feeling for her efforts of fundraising, she said. A donation of $250 was also presented to one of our elders in need, after an unfortunate event.

Aside from working, and the lack of communication with her family back home in Deer Lake First Nation, Debbie said she enjoys the task of opening all the tabs and sending pictures of confirmation to supporters, which presents as a big undertaking. With the support of Waylon Namaypoke at home, her efforts have been extremely gratifying for family and all supporters, she said.

The last of her fundraising will end after all current tickets are sold and includes for elders’ birthdays, she said.

With all appreciative gratitude from all us here and surrounding supporting areas, Miigwetch!

Elders-In-Residence: Betty Tom

Betty Tom - photo credit Ozaawaa
Betty Tom: Faces of Naotkamegwanning Elders-in-Residence (Photo Credit: Ozaawaa Paypompee)

By: Ozaawaa Paypompee     

Betty Tom has been living at the Naotkamegwanning Elders-in-Residence for over 5 years she said.

While she was working on an eagle puzzle, she remembered her grandson in Eagle Lake does photography. She was enjoying the nice beautiful Friday sunny day. She hoped the snow would melt for Halloween and kids should be able to trick or treat in larger spaces rather than be alone far away.   

She says she hasn’t always lived in Naotkamegwanning, originally she is from Big Island First Nation. She opened up saying she was the same age as George Kakeway, who is now a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame and who spoke at the round house on Orange Shirt Day. She says they both attended St.Mary’s Residential School in Kenora. She says she finds it very hard rethink of those experiences.