Me in Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, so proud of my buckskin vest and headband that Auntie made for me.
Illustration by Ocean Kiana
photo credit: newschoolphotography
Anishinaabekwe indaaw (I am an Anishinaabe woman). I use she/her pronouns. Mooz indoodem (I am moose clan). Biigtigong Nishnaabeg (Ojibways of the Pic River) and Ketegaunseebee (Garden River) izhinikaade ishkonigan wenjiiyaan (is the name of the First Nation that I come from). Waabishki Ogichidakwenz-anang and Waaba-anang ikwe indigoo Anishinabemong idash (is what I am known by the spirits in Ojibway). Melanie Goodchild indizhinikaaz zhaaganaashiiong/ingikeniogoo gaye (is what I am called in English/is what I am also known by). I am the daughter of Melinda Jones (Garden River) and the late Delaney ba Goodchild (Pic River). I am the granddaughter of Ernie Jones (Garden River) and Jane Jones (nee Godin) (Couchiching First Nation). I am also the granddaughter of Louis Goodchild (Pic River) and Isabella Goodchild (nee Mendowegan) (Aroland First Nation). All of my grandparents are in the spirit world now. My spiritually adopted siblings are Julian Norris, Keith Boissoneau (Ketegaunseebee First Nation), and Eleanor Skead (Waszush Onigum First Nation). I have two spiritually adopted Uncles too, Uncle Blain Loft (Tyendinaga) and Uncle Dan Longboat (Six Nations of the Grand River), they are Haudenosaunee (Mohawk). I come from a colonized First World country called Canada. My dad went to Indian Residential School in Spanish called the St. Peter Claver school for boys run by the Jesuits, and my mom went to Garden River Indian Day School run by the Roman Catholic Church. I have a lifestyle of privilege, raised in a loving home by my mom and dad, and wealth compared to previous generations of my family, affording me the opportunity to earn a HBA and MA in Sociology from Lakehead University. I study complexity and systems thinking at the University of Waterloo in my doctoral program. I will be the first person in my family to earn a PhD. My petition to the manidoog (spirits) is that I can use my privilege and knowledge/wisdom to nurture the collective well-being of all humans from the four directions, seven generations yet to come and all our relations, the non-humans. I ask my ancestors to help me, be with me, remind me when I forget something. Nadimooshin ji-mshkoogaabwigayaan minima ji-zoongde'eyaan.
the (aki) land and niibish (water) of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
Can you see the family resemblance?
It was a proud moment for my mother Melinda that winter day in 2018 when we visited the Bookshelf book store in Guelph, ON to pick up a copy of the Grand Magazine holiday issue featuring me on the cover. After photo shoots and interviews with me and and some of my colleagues at the University and at NASA, my approach to bridging ways of knowing was getting some attention. I was happy my biker tattoos got some attention too!