Relocating to a Remote Community

"Going 4 thousand kilometres to 'shack up'"


I'm from a huge town called Hamilton. Squished into southern Ontario with a population of at least 500,000.

Not once did I think moving up north would change my life.

As a 20 something female, I was looking for a new experience. I applied for a job off indeed.com for a management job in a grocery store (sounds exciting huh?). In being placed into a small community named Fort Chipewyan I have called off an engagement and decided this is what I wanted. Just off the tip of Lake Athabasca and only accessible by a winter road, I did not expect much of a learning experience.

There are two native groups in a town of about 1,200. One is Dène and one is Cree, there is also a large pocket of Mètis. I am now a minority in my community because I am white. I grew up this way in a huge multicultural city... but it is nothing compared to this. In a short two years I have figured out who I would like to be with forever; and it's not just with one person, it's the whole town.

I have learned to fish, I have learned that owning a vehicle is more or less useless and I have learned to read the river and waterways. I have learned that each group has a distinct goal to keep their traditions alive. Out of willpower and requirement. Inflation hugely affects my community; a jug of milk is 10$. Baby formula is also around 65$. Hunting is a life long skill many are taught here to survive. It is a physically back breaking lifestyle and you never take a break as you are always preparing. Preparing for summer when you cannot hunt moose, lynx or ducks or geese. Spending summer preparing for the regular temperature of -44 and trying to make sure you can travel out to your trap lines to make ends meet like running to catch a bus for your 9-5 down south.

I am always thrown off by the pace of life here. It is always a surprise to witness and I cannot dream of my life down south anymore. I always look forward to learning how I can better myself and work towards making a home for my family.

I joined Vocal to break down the stigmas first nations and mètis people face as well as keep a regular interval updates through battling mental illnesses in a remote community. All of these issues need some more light shed on them as individuals and groups work together to overcome them.

My other half is named Craig. We also have a 5-year-old girl named Maya from a previous relationship who is of Mètis and nwt Cree descent. 

I am sifting through my history as well trying to figure out if I am from a Mètis line or a Mikmaq line.

Living in a remote community is difficult because of the lack of health care for mental health. I was diagnosed with CPTSD, as well as borderline personality disorder and insomnia with agoraphobia. I feel in most forms of media these issues are not accurately portrayed so in my own way I will be opening Pandora's box in hopes what I may experience will help others. I will also be posting up art that I have made, or music as it has a strong influence in my life and my current lifestyle as an activity or as a form of therapy. 

Being alive for me is an experience, good and bad. I hope to show you the reader this experience in full bloom and maybe you will also be able to start preserving some helpful messages for yourselves so you can join me on my journey through all the good, the bad and the ugly that comes along with stigmas and being a parent for the first time in a blended family environment.

Myself and miss Maya Marie

Alison G
Alison G

Life and stories of a 20s something lady trying to wade through mental illness, love and isolation in a remote community.

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Relocating to a Remote Community