If you’ve ever attended an event with drumming in central it is likely you have seen Bob Young of Grand Falls-Windsor. Bob is an active member of the Exploits Valley Community Group where he served as Vice-President for four years and is now the Director. I have had the pleasure of getting to know him through his association with the group. One thing you will notice immediately about Bob is his kind nature and his passion for his culture.
Bob was born and raised in Grand Falls-Windsor, growing up his family had no idea that his mother was Mi’kmaq. “It was surprising when we all found out,” he said. This realization that a part of his life had been missing set him down a different path. “To learn about my culture meant everything to me,” Bob said.
The Mawio’mi in Central is an event dear to him, Bob was co-chair of the first and second annual Mawio’mi in Grand Falls-Windsor. He said it was an honor to work with Elders from Western who shared their knowledge during this time. Bob played a large part in constructing the first sweat lodge in Grand Falls-Windsor where he took part in some of the very first sweats and learned traditional knowledge from traditional sweat lodge keepers.
To learn all the different aspects of the culture he spends his time learning about medicines, songs, dances, languages, and stories. Through his culture Bob has found a creative outlet for himself, in his spare time you can find him making moose antler necklaces, medicine bags, painting wall plaques, and smudge boxes. I’ve mentioned his kind nature, Bob is also incredibly generous as he gifts a lot of his crafts to his friends and family.
Involving youth in culture is something Bob feels strongly about and works hard towards. He shares with youth any opportunity he can at libraries and schools, I’ve never known Bob to say no to sharing his culture with anyone. With the Exploits Valley Community Group, he shares songs, drumming, language, and other knowledge. He says the reason he likes to share with the youth is “to make sure they have a source to learn their culture for the future of our Mi’Kmaq culture is in their hands.” He wants to see youth work with their Elders from different communities and give their input on community problems as well.
When asked about his vision for the future of Qalipu Bob said, “I hope to see the coming together of the different Mi’Kmaq communities in central to carry on the Mawio’mi”. He would also like to see a new approach to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal seniors in central.
Bob’s dedication to the rejuvenation of Mi’Kmaq culture in central is commendable, he is a community leader in so many ways. Pride in his Mi’kmaq roots shines through in the things he does for his community.