Lt.-Gov. explores past during visit

For Ontario Lt.-Gov. James Bartleman, Wednesday’s tour of Rainy River District was a chance to explore his roots and share them with his, son Alain.
Bartleman, 62, made several stops as part of a week-long trek across Northwestern Ontario, including at a reception at the Seven Generations Educational Institute, the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre (Manitou Mounds), a tea in Rainy River, and a private dinner/public reception at La Place Rendez-Vous.
“I really enjoyed myself and I met so many wonderful people,” he enthused after Wednesday night’s reception.
Bartleman noted he was a member of Mnjikaning First Nation, adding his mother was aboriginal and his father white. “But that wasn’t his fault,” he joked.
As a result of his heritage, Bartleman said he always has been intrigued with the history of this area.
“For me growing up, aboriginal history and white people and the fur trade was always interesting for me,” he noted, remarking on the rich trading history found here at the centre of North America.
“As someone who is a member of the Nishnawbe world, I am very much aware that this is really the heartland and the homeland of the Nishnawbe people,” Bartleman added.
“In the later part of the 17th century, the Nishnawbe people moved out of this area and downwards into southern Ontario and westward into what is now Manitoba and became Plains Nishnawbe people.
“This is really of significance in terms of Nishnawbe history and I think that will be recognized some day,” Bartleman continued.
During his visit to the Seven Generations Education Institute yesterday morning, Bartleman was given a “survival Ojibway” package created by the institute to help teach and preserve the language.
Wednesday’s tour also was a chance to share his heritage with his 12-year-old son, Alain, who he referred to as the official photographer on the trip.
“He was absolutely delighted. This is a real education for him,” Bartleman said.