I saw a piece in the Sioux Bulletin today (see link to story) Wahsa pays tribute to Margaret Fiddler during graduation It brought tears to my eyes, not only because I miss her but her contribution in developing Wahsa helped me pursue and achieve my high school diploma.
I was 16 years old when I became a single mother. Shawna kept me busy and inspired me to see that there was more to do in life other than be a single parent on welfare. I wanted more for her and I realized that “I, Angie Morris was a role model to another human being” *GULP* scary realization. After a few months of doing nothing but being a Mom, I realized that I needed to pursue and complete my high school education in order to provide for my child. I thought “Okay, how am I going to do this?” Already being a young Mom in the Rez and on welfare, the odds were against me. Thank goodness our local Wahsa Coordinator was always inviting and encouraging me to come sign up for a course. That spring I took a chance and signed up for a radio course. I was being ambitious and signed up for 3 courses at the same time. In the end that proved to be too difficult and failed all but one course. Juggling a baby, having no reliable transportation to the facility and sometimes having no sitter to help me keep her were just some of the obstacles I faced. Luckily, I was able to take Shawna to an evening class if I had no other choice. She’d sit there and play or nap. She was an awesome baby who let me work lol I worked on my assignments after she went to bed or while she was napping till I finally finished a course with flying colours! It was in that moment I really could see and actually believe in my goal. I wanted to complete high school the traditional way and not through GED’s or whatever is offered nowadays. I completed two other courses before coming out with Shawna to attend the Parents Attending Secondary School Program at Queen Elizabeth District High School. WE graduated in 1999 with honours…I like to say WE because Shawna was with me every step of the way for those two long years.
Wahsa was ahead of its time in terms of delivering education to our remote communities. Radio waves filled the air in each of our hometowns and my later Mother-in-law saw that as an avenue for First Nations People to achieve their education. Before she was my Mother-in-law, she was Jesse’s scary Mom lol But after becoming a part of their family & getting to know some of history behind her work, I realized how closely connected we all were even before we became family.
I miss my Momma-in-law. She did a lot of awesome work & I am grateful that I benefited from her contributions to the Northern Society. Her 2nd memorial is coming up in 3 weeks and we’ll be celebrating her life’s memory once here in Sioux Lookout. They had her 1st memorial up in Sandy Lake last year and I think that’s all we’re allowed to feast for lol One of her instructions before she left for her spirit journey was to only have ONE memorial feast and not one every year. (sorry Mum…just this extra one for our Sioux Lookout friends & family) She was a hardworking and very inspirational woman who HUMBLY & quietly left behind a legacy for her grandchildren to learn about and aspire to.