|Laura Robinson, Grandmother Of The Village|
I lived in Laura’s village for almost five years. She was the Village Grandmother. She is with her ancestors now. I have neither the history nor the right to tell her story. However I do have the permission of Eden Robinson to tell the story that follows.
As Village Grandmother Laura Robinson had many responsibilities. Passing on the history, traditions, culture, and her hard won wisdom was one of these responsibilities. I had been accepted into Haisla Village as someone that the village would try to train as their United Church of Canada pastor. This meant that the village would try to train me in their ways and their needs. As Village Grandmother Laura Robinson was one of my teachers.
|Rev. Thomas Crosby|
She taught me many things. One was that she did not follow anyone’s orders if she did not want to. I was a fair hand at baking raisin scones and I would often bake up a batch to take down to her house. We would eat scones, drink coffee and she would tell me stories. One story she never told me was that she was diabetic! I got such a bawling out when others found out about my raisin scones!
One story she did tell me was about the Rev Thomas Crosby. If memory serves I had brought her a United Church of Canada calendar and his was one of the pictures in it.
When she saw it she got mad. She looked at the picture, looked at me and said ‘he was no chief!’ I had always been told heroic stories of the great missionary. Yet here was the Village Grandmother showing contempt and disgust towards the great one. This was the first time though certainly not the last time that I was forced to choose between histories.
To Laura Robinson he was not a great missionary who brought Christianity and salvation to her people. To Laura Robinson he was someone who wore the Regalia of a Chief without having the right to wear it. He was someone who stole from her people and made a lot of money selling what he stole. He was just one more whiteman who had betrayed her peoples love and trust.
That day Laura Robinson Village Grandmother did what was both her Right and Responsibility… she taught the truth to one of her village who needed to be corrected for the good of the village.