How the rolling hills estate has changed the way Canada views its aboriginal people
ROUGH CUT (NEWS 1130) – The rolling hills family is changing the way Canadians see their indigenous people, and they’re not just changing their faces.
The family of nine have been known for their pastoralist roots, which they say they have nurtured through their own work and community efforts.
“We were always the ones that raised the kids and tended the gardens,” says daughter and husband, Jeff Gormley.
“But I think we’re now becoming the people that bring in the most attention.
We’re really trying to spread awareness.”
Gormly says the family is now the face of the Canadian Aboriginal community.
“They’ve got all the trappings of being a traditional, traditional people, but they’re still being welcomed by all these new people,” he says.
“It’s really nice.”
He says the rollers have helped spread the word about their traditions, but also how important they are for the community.
Gormy and his wife are now raising the kids on the rolling hill estate, in the southern Ontario community of North Bay.
It’s where they started as a family when they moved to North Bay, about 25 kilometres south of Montreal, about a decade ago.
They moved to the rolling-hills estate about five years ago, after living in the same town for more than 30 years.
“The rolling hills are a lot more accessible than the rolling plains, but we were able to go a little farther north,” says Gorm, who is now 37.
“And we’re really proud of our heritage, and we love what we do.”
He explains how the rolling mountains have given the family the confidence to make their own decisions, like the ones he’s making for the kids.
“The rolling hill is the most culturally significant place in the whole of North America,” he explains.
“There’s not a lot of people who can say they’ve lived in the rolling mountain range, so we’re able to do things a little bit different, like raising the children and doing a lot on our own.”
He points to a few things he’s noticed over the years: “The children are getting older, and some of the older ones have had to take more responsibility, and that has had an effect on the environment.”
He adds that the family has been lucky to be able to stay together, “without any issues.”
Gorman says he and his family have been trying to raise awareness about the rolling estates for years, and he has no regrets about the decision to move.
“I think it’s a really important part of the history of our people,” Gorm said.
“When you come to Canada from North America, there’s a lot to do and see and do, and when you go home you don’t see any of that.
It is an important part and we hope that it will be part of our identity.”
His wife, Jill, says she’s happy to have the family as a part of Canada’s Indigenous story.
“For us to come here, to the north of North American, to be in the heart of the rolling woods, to have that connection to the land, to all of the people, I think is really important,” she said.
Gorman also wants the rolling estate to help promote cultural awareness.
“If it’s good for us to share this story, and to show people that we are an Aboriginal people, then it’s also good for the country,” he said.
The rolling hill family moved into the rolling country, and Gorm is still the head of the family.
“My kids are still very much involved in the family business and they do all the farming,” he told CBC.
He says that his kids are very active in the community and have been teaching in the summer.
“Their knowledge of the area is really really good, so it’s nice to see them working together in a way that they don’t have to,” he added.
For the family, that means making sure that the land is managed with care and that it’s protected.
“What we do is we protect our lands.
That’s all that matters to us,” says Jill.
“You know, we’re not here to be disrespectful to anybody, but if we’re going to do it right, then we need to do that responsibly.”