Interview with Terry Musgrave
October 21st, 2019
By Dawn Pond, GreenUP’s Downtown Vibrancy Project and Depave Paradise Program Coordinator
This interview is part of the Jiimaan’ndewengadnong project. These oral histories are being shared and celebrated. The stories in this article have been adapted, with permission, from recorded conversations. There will be audio clips available on this webpage and in the Jiimaan’ndewengadnong park through phone numbers on the park plaques thanks to Nexicom and Impact Communications.
During the design stages of Jiimaan’ndewengadnong (“The Place Where the Heart of the Canoe Beats”) I met with many wonderful individuals. One of these people is Terry Musgrave, who owns and operates a local art and craft store called Crafts ‘n’ Things in Hiawatha First Nation. When I met her to talk about the Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong project call to artists, Terry told me tales of her life living in Hiawatha on the Shore of Rice Lake. She was especially animated when she told stories of her late mother-in-law, Lucy. In her younger years, Lucy was known locally as the fastest female canoeist on Rice Lake and she would compete in her birchbark canoe at the annual Alderville First Nation Regatta.
“Her grandparents were missionaries. They came from England with their daughter, which was Lucy’s mother. And they helped build the first church that was there [in Hiawatha First Nation].”
Lucy was born and raised in Hiawatha First Nation and Terry went on to tell me that Lucy grew into an avid canoeist with quite a reputation at the annual canoe regattas.
“They used to have regattas across the lake every year. It would be August, because we have our pow wows in the summer and then the regattas usually follow in the fall. The girls across the lake that did canoeing. Somebody told them one day that Lucy wouldn’t be there and they said, ‘Why?’
‘Well, she’s sick. She’s not feeling very good.’
‘Oh, good. We all have a chance of winning!’
“All of a sudden one of the girls looked up and she said, ‘Who told you she was sick?’ And they said whoever it was told them. She said, ‘Well, they lied to you because look what’s coming!’ Next there was Lucy and her canoe, paddling all the way from Hiawatha over to Alderville and then [she would] turn around and win the championship.”
Terry chuckled and recalled, “oh they hated it! I remember Aunt May who was a cousin of Lucy’s said how those girls over there hated seeing Lucy coming. Every year, she’d take the trophy and bring it over to Hiawatha.”
I asked Terry if they used birchbark canoes in the regattas. She replied, “oh ya, they didn’t have cedar strips and stuff back then, not that I’m aware of. I remember the old canoe that she used, which was pretty well done by the time I came into the picture.”
Lucy was a powerful and magnetic woman who was active throughout her long life in Hiawatha and Terry remembers her strength and humour even in her old age. She was known a ‘Nan’ to the whole community and is missed by many (if not at the regattas!).
Terry went on to tell me that Lucy was a true outsdoorswoman. “Oh, she loved to hunt and fish. On the coldest winters she and her friend Berta would go out. Now, Bert lived to be 105! And she told Lucy one day, she said ‘what’s it like Lucy being a hundred and two?’ and Lucy said, ‘I never thought I’d see it.’ Bert said, ‘Well, I won’t have to worry about it because I won’t!’ She outlived Lucy by three years!”
“On the coldest, coldest winter, they’d put on their winter gear and up they’d go and they’d fish. Oh! And if they caught anything!” Then she went on to recall a common exchange Lucy would have with others in the community:
‘Where were you, Lucy?’
‘What do you need to know for?’
‘Well did you get anything?’
‘Well, if I get too much, I’ll let you know!’
“That was her. She had an answer for everything.”
In their own voices: how to listen to these & other canoe stories
Follow @PtboGreenUP on social media to be notified when audio of Terry’s story and more canoe stories will be available on our website: greenup.on.ca/vibrancy. When completed, audio of these interviews will also be available to visitors at the Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong pocket park by calling the phone numbers on the park plaques.
This kind of remarkable, authentic project doesn’t happen without a lot of collaboration and generous support. First and foremost, chi miigwech to Tia Cavanagh, Madeline Whetung, Shirley Williams, and Terry Musgrave for sharing their stories. Thanks to Nexicom and Impact Communications for donating their time and skills to make the audio interviews available. Thanks to the support of Lett Architects, Engage Engineering, Tree House Timberworks, Accurex, Coco Paving, Ralph’s Paving, Alderville Black Oak Savanna, The Food Shop, The Silver Bean café, and many more. The space itself has been generously made accessible to the public by Euphoria Wellness Spa, and the art installation was also generously sponsored by Kim and Mark Zippel. This project is also part of a larger movement led by Green Communities Canada and their national Depave Paradise Initiative. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Jiimaan’ndewemgadnong pocket park and Downtown Vibrancy Project are a partnership between the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and GreenUP’s Depave Paradise project.
If you are interested in supporting the project by donating services or providing sponsorship please email Dawn Pond (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
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