Geneviève grew up in the community of Rapid Lake on Anicinabe territory with her siblings, mother Élizabeth Maranda and father George Nottaway. 

One day, her mother received a vision that they must leave the community of Rapid Lake to settle elsewhere. In 1997, after exploring the territory, they discovered a crystal-clear spring near Lake Maiganajik. Her father and mother were convinced that this was where they would settle with their family. 

Since then, Geneviève and her husband have lived here with their children, grandchildren and other members of the Nottaway family. This allows her to practice her culture, live on the land and pass on traditional teachings to her children and grandchildren. 

These teachings come from generations of women: her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother passed on to her the knowledge of herbal medicine, which she still practices today and passes on to her children and grandchildren, telling them that: 

 “We can’t take everything we want from the forest… We wait for the right moment and only if we need it.” 

Geneviève is very fond of making traditional crafts. She has made canoes with her husband, thanks to the teachings she received from her father. As for the tikinagan, she explains that “we don’t make them to sell, but to give to the new babies who arrive”. Making bark baskets is still one of her favorite activities, as it allows her to practice patience and respect for the forest. She is grateful to the forest and the land for everything it has to offer. 

“Choosing a tree for its bark is not a choice you make lightly, I get in touch with the forest, I look to see which tree is ready to give its bark, because it will keep this mark on its trunk for the rest of its life.” 

As well as being a mother and kokom, Geneviève is an activist and a great guardian of the preservation of the land. She holds precious teachings from her ancestors. Listening to her speak about Anicinabe culture in her own language is a great privilege, where time no longer exists. 

“If we don’t preserve the land, how are we going to continue to keep our culture and our teachings?” 

Genevieve dreams of one day being able to create a cultural village in her community where they can showcase Anicinabe culture and traditions. 

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