Paul Carl, ‘Obiziindan animitagozi noodin’ is of Bear Clan of Algonquin, Oneida and European ancestry and is acknowledged by his elders as a traditional man in his community. When asked about what makes him grateful he easily answers.
“Over the past five years, Kingston has grown to recognize the importance of culture, in particularly its past, present and future aboriginal culture. I have been gifted and recognized by both my community and many in Kingston as a connector, between these two communities. I receive much support from my family, friends and loved ones both in the aboriginal community and the Edith Rankin Memorial United Church where both (my wife and I) attend. The congregation is very understanding and supportive of the work I do to promote aboriginal culture and community.
“I work with the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program as part the faculty of education at Queen’s University. The faculty is very open to learn about our traditions and teachings. This year we were able to plan a traditional medicine garden where we grew three sisters, tobacco, cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and strawberries.
“I would love to see people in the community not be afraid to ask questions and not ashamed about the actions of their ancestors. I wish more citizens would take the time to learn about their culture and where their ancestors came from, but they seem to find it easier to ask about ours.
“While recognizing there is still a long way to go, I am so impressed how far the City has moved forward in supporting and working with the aboriginal community. And I hope the aboriginal community continues to come together and work with all citizens of the city. I would love to see a safe and comfortable gathering space in Kingston where we can perform our ceremonies without feeling like outsiders.”
In June 2011, under the guidance of his elders and community members, Paul had June proclaimed as aboriginal People’s Month in Kingston. He gave the Mayor a talking stick on behalf of the community. It has since been used by City staff and committees during meetings with the aboriginal community and with visiting aboriginal guests.
“My wish is for all citizens to learn about the aboriginal peoples of Kingston past, present and future.”