For the next series of photos, I will be using photos taken in Northern Saskatchewan when I lived on a Dene Reserve and served as the Education Manager for the reserve. This photo was taken in August, 2005 using an HP Photosmart camera with 5.1 MP rating. The camera has long gone though the photos remain.
This photo features wild raspberries against a backdrop of Canadian Shield granite along the shores of Lake Athabasca. For a brief time, the raspberry vibrates with a brightness as though ready to change the world of water and stone. Swelled with its fruit, it lives as though it was more than one small moment of brightness.
When I took the job as Education Manager, a job that was a combination of school principal, Directer of Education, and Post-Secondary administrator, I had thought that my recent retirement from the provincial system was leading me into a way to provide needed service for the north.
I had begun my teaching career not too distant from this Dene reserve in September, 1974. At that time, I had promised myself that I would return when I retired, hopefully to stay. I didn’t know then that staying was not really an option as I was an outsider in too many ways. I was an outsider in 1974, but by 2005 I had become even more different. And that difference resulted in my hopes for being an agent of positive change for the reserve, being crushed.
After all of my life experience and my training in human psychology, I had allowed hubris to distort the lens through which I saw this reserve community. I heard and understood the words of the reserve leaders, words that I resonated with and supported. In making decisions based on the dreams and hopes of these leaders, I began to experience a huge disconnect from what was hoped for and what was actually possible. I pushed too fast and too hard to bring their vision to life. I forgot that I wasn’t the leader, I was supposed to simply follow, listening carefully and then clear the path through the arts of administrivia – no more. To do more was to be blind to reality. To attempt to do more was simply an act of hubris.