The Legacy of Tom Goodin
This digital story is a tribute to deceased Fishing Lake Elder and community leader Thomas Goodin, as told by his great-granddaughter Jerrika. The story begins with a frank admission by Jerrika that while she had heard stories about her great-grandfather, she had not paid much attention to these stories. Her candid statement is representative of the inter-generational disconnect that is commonly found between the older and younger generations of Fishing Lakers. While this disconnect is not unique to Indigenous groups, some of the generational distancing may well be representative of colonial disruption.
As we listen to Jerrika recount her great-grandfather’s brave deeds in World War I and his many contributions in supporting the Fishing Lake community, we hear her voice strengthen. As the story unfolds, she draws even greater inspiration from a letter carefully written by her grandmother who, despite having only a grade three education, had the resolve to write down memories of her father so they would not be lost. This singular act points to the importance of cultural retention in this family. We learn how Thomas was able to use his literacy skills as the “go-to person” to bridge the Métis lived world with the ‘foreign’ ways of the newcomers and how he helped organize the community to ensure their inclusion in provincial matters. As a leader, Thomas’s lifetime spanned from traditional ways to wartime involvement to a changed world of political movements. As the story ends, we witness the influence that Thomas Goodin had on subsequent generations of Fishing Lake community members through his selfless sharing with others.