Flying In To Work
This was my home for a year, a fly-in isolated northern community only about 25 kilometres south of the North West Territories. This was the location of my first school and my first principalship. There were no roads, no cars or trucks and the nearest grocery store was 25 kilometres to the east in a small town called Uranium City. To go for groceries it was necessary to charter a float plane. There was no television, no cinemas, no restaurants or bars, no shopping of any kind. Just a tiny settlement on the northern edge of Lake Athabasca where the deer, the moose, the caribou and other wildlife decided to play. Entertainment was a small collection of books (Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and whatever found its way to our door via the mail – air mail of course.
The year was a good one even though the community was struggling with every possible disorder and disability that one could imagine. I fit right in, the crazy French-Canadian. In their eyes, I wasn’t a “white man.” Because of this sabbatical from mainstream Canada, I was able to focus on shoring up the barricades that kept my personal history a mystery to me. I was useful, important, a community leader and after four months, a father. I learned that I had strength and skills and that I had value and worth in the eyes of others. What a precious gift to get for a young man with a very dark history.