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Upper Humber Settlement, N.L. 

I grew up in Fort McMurray, Alberta. I am one of those children from two Newfoundlanders that were sent away because there was not much for them here. My Indigenous heritage comes from my mother’s side of the family. We are from the Qalipu First Nation, a landless First Nation with Mi’kmaw people living all over Newfoundland and Labrador.  

My mother didn’t grow up with a strong Indigenous identity and when she was young it was something that was shamed and frowned upon to identify as Indigenous. I grew up away from my people and it made it difficult to understand my mother and my Indigenous identity.

My mom made a lot of bannock when we were kids. She was known for her amazing bannock and all the neighbourhood kids would come to our house after school to have some. She said she never had a recipe, so she was unable to share it. Even when I lived on my own, she would mix all the ingredients together and put it in a margarine tub and all I would have to do is add the water.

My mom moved home, back to Newfoundland, when I was a teenager, and this land quickly became my home. My identity means everything
to me. I went on a journey in my own way and through guided meditation and teachings of the medicine wheel I started to learn and heal.

So, I brought together bannock and the medicine wheel in my business at Upper Humber Settlement to share my story. While I lead these experiences and share in preparing the food, I always learn new things from my guests. The more I learn about Indigenous history and culture the more I understand reconciliation and my mother’s own story.

My Indigenous heritage means a lot to me. I have always had a strong connection to the land and consider myself an environmentalist. As I learn more about my own Indigenous identity, I feel an even stronger connection to the land.

 I could not do what we do here on the farm without my husband, Mark. The health of the land is our priority, and we believe in building soil health. Biodiversity is key to our farming success and so is our approach to everything we do. We collaborate and make decisions together.

We have three culinary experiences at Upper Humber Settlement. We are not a restaurant, so to come and eat our food you must stay at our bed and breakfast and participate in our FarmStay. For the Medicine Wheel experience, we sit around the fire circle, and I share what I know about the circle, my own story and a guided meditation where I replicate the experience that I had. I do not offer teachings or workshops, just intimate and immersive storytelling. Of course, there is bannock that the guests roast and season over the fire.

We also offer several experiences. One is a four-course farm-to-table dining experience. Guests can be as involved as they like. They can harvest their own vegetables as part of an immersive farm tour and explore the local museum, or enjoy a day hiking and return to an intimate dinner experience.

I am a hunter and gatherer and I like to share my harvest — moose, caribou, and small game— with guests after exploring our nature trail. We often incorporate these flavours with our Farm and Forage Experience. It’s a simple experience but very land based and educational, all about our connection to the Earth, to the stories and the flavours of the land because there are so many edible things here. I love sharing our food, stories and culture with visitors from all over the world.

Steak with Alder Cream Sauce

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