OCIP has made its Traditions a part of all of its activities. Also it has always been a strong voice of the following UN (United Nations) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples declaration. “Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature”. It holds itself, the Provincial Government, the Canadian Federal Government, via CAP, both Accountable and Proactive in the area of Culture for all Metis, Non-status, Status, and Inuit groups living off reserves in Ontario and in Canada.
This sounds powerful but what does it do too mentor this high ideal? But one example is the passing on of our cultural traditions. A wonderful story has been passed around OCIP of how Former Chief Brad Maggrah was one to mentor his beliefs to his family. Chief Brad owned the most wonderful Leather Jacket and it was both a part of him and of many OCIP events. But Chief Brad never wore it as some sort of prop; it was indeed a part of his being. In the fullness of his time here on Earth, it was passed onto BJ Maggrah. However Greater Still is that Chief Brad passed on the Love of all Indigenous Peoples to him within this jacket and its story. Is it any wonder that BJ is the Region 1 Governor and Serves this entire Region and in turn all of the OCIP membership. Also these traditions are seen in Chief Brads Daughter Laurie Fisher is the Vice Chief for OCIP. Plus many of his Children and extended Family serves OCIP in various ways and hidden duties. It was once recorded by one of Chief Brad’s daughters that she looks out for OCIP because it means too much to her, her dad, and to the Family.
This shows when Chief Brad and his Wife, Fellow OCIP Worker Kathy Maggrah were teaching their family stories, responsibilities, history, cultural duties, etc. they instilled the great love for their culture, traditions, and peoples. Chief Brad is among the Great Indigenous Leaders today, however his lessons are set in the very core of OCIP. These Fires were started because for not one second did Chief Brad forget that Our Culture and Traditions are what truly made us strong and will do so in the future. All that we must do is keep them alive and not let time or circumstances wash them away.
It must be wondered at what power is held in these traditions, stories, songs, etc. but all one must do is listen to the tales of great wisdom about nature from Mitch Bertrand (Regional Governor 3 Sue Bertrand’s Husband) and you know the Power of Mother Earth and how all creatures play their part in this World. Also just listen to the Children of Former Chief Elmer St.Pierre (Now CAP National Chief) doing the drumming or perhaps just watch his Children or Grandchildren Dance at OCIPs meetings, assemblies, etc. and you will know the power of keeping our Indigenous Culture alive. Then just walk into the OCIP office and find Cheryle St.Pierre hard at work looking after OCIPs Business. This same spirit of keeping our Culture alive is still present in our Present Chief Mona Denomme as she and her Husband John Larabie (Former Region 5 Governor) instilled in their Children the long tradition of serving the Indigenous People. For daily do their children the OCIP Secretary Lucie Beaudry and Region 5 Governor Tim Denomme work to serve you the Members of OCIP.
This proud tradition of keeping our Culture alive is ever present in both OCIP and its members. In fact it is only time and space here that holds us back from reading more here, for all of you have lived lives of keeping up our Traditions and then instilling our Culture into those that Follow. It has been said that Indigenous Pride is not the wearing of some piece of clothing or knowing how to wear a Sash, it is the passing on of our Culture to those who follow and leaving a path for those that we will never meet. This is at the heart of why OCIP does all it can to build upon the Cultural foundations that have been set down in the past. Great ones have come and are every going; however the Culture will remain as long as we the Members of OCIP will never let it die. For every little lesion that is taught impacts the future and is not forgotten.