Temagami First Nation
Gary Potts, while being Chief of Temagami First Nation (TFN) and Teme-Augama Anishnabai (TAA) was a leader in organized struggle of Temagami band to protect their Traditional ancestral lands, Ndaki Menan from clearcut logging, which culminated in Bear island Trial: Bear island foundation vs. Attorney General for the province of Ontario. Gary Potts was a leader in the blockades of Red Squirrel logging road, which cut deep into the Traditional Territory of Temagami band, allowing easy access to prime white and red pine stands.
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005
To: Neodim Kollobok
I have written because I take issue with your summary of my father. Gary Potts. I don't know who you are but the issue I have is with stating the viewpoint of the so-called traditional Mckoominiinisiing Anishnabeg. The reason I say so-called is that I remember many of the hurtful and untrue statements they made, especially around 1994.
It is my understanding that traditional people follow the seven Grandfather teachings. This group caused many people pain when they were acting out or up. Also they made statements that just were not true. Any of their claims that they stated, there was never any documented proof, as far as I know the members are still searching for it. Or trying to twist existing documents to support their lies.
I remember being in court and their behaviour was outlandish. A traditional person does not behave in such self-destructive behaviour. Even by calling themselves traditional, they are lying.
The issue I have is that why did you paint Gary Potts in such a negative light on a public web-site? The site also fails to mention that much of this knowledge would not have been collected if it weren't for the effort of my father and other dedicated people.
I grew up on Bear Island, I spent many years of my adult-hood there. I know first hand the ins and outs of the land claim. I also know and suffered first hand what the hatred fueled by the likes of the Mckoomiininisiing. When my brother and mother died in 1992 there were people who seemed to enjoy our suffering. When there were death threats against my father (my only living parent at the time when my grief was raw) I needed him. These people were not only threatening his life they were threatening my sanity if they did take his life.
The legacy left of hatred towards my family and my father has prompted me to not raise my Children there. Why would I leave a Lake and Life that I loved?
I love my children and it is my responsibility to protect them any way I can. I refuse to have my children subjigated to that hate that I believe the mckoominiising helped to foster. and that I personally suffered. I got tired of people saying to me when I went to the store "F__k You" Potts. and I wanted to spare my children that pain if it ever started up again.
Perhaps some of what I am writing is not being directed to the proper person, I thank you for giving me a voice. If you are traditional then I believe you will understand my need to heal from the pain I have suffered. Much of my grief is gone, however the road to forgiveness of that hate mongering at that point in my life is near completion. This letter is part of that road.
I would ask with great sincerity that perhaps you re-examine what is written on the web-site and perhaps make it a little more truthful regarding the good things Gary Potts has done with and for the Bear Island People. If you do decide not to change it that's o-kay too. I mean it's your site. But I must say that My Father's legacy will be and already is far-reaching and that very few people take seriously what the mckoominiising people say or do.
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005
From: Paula Potts
To: Neodim Kollobok
Subject: Re: Summary regarding Former Chief Gary Potts
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Thank you for your email and your request for pictures,memoirs and whatnot. unfortunately, I am not in a place where I can meet your request.I am still processing my own thoughts and feelings regarding the issues of Native rights, land claims, self-determination and the traditional aspects of government.
I have found a document that has been quite enlightening, perhaps you should check it out.
Good luck in your future endeavors.