Rosemary Georgeson, one of the co-writers of Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way speaks about seeing her words enacted on the stage and her life in the commercial fishing industry

Rosemary Georgeson is one of the writers of Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, as well as the community engagement liaison.

Where are you from?
Galiano Island.

When did you move here?
I’ve been on the mainland for 30 years but home is still on Galiano.

This is a picture of my dad holding his newest future “deckhand” – my oldest daughter Jeannine – who was 3 to 4 months old the first time I took her out fishing with us. I believe [the fish is] a small spring salmon, as I believe we were in active pass when it was taken. The picture was taken in 1981. Approximately July or early August.
What made you move to the mainland?
It was a very small place and I wanted to open up the world for my daughters more than being in an isolated small community.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Coast-Salish Sahtu Dene woman who was born in to the commercial fishing industry. What I do now: I’m a playwright, community-engagement liaison, storyteller, workshop facilitator, amongst my role of being mom, grandma, auntie and sister.

You’ve been engaged with the writing of this show for a very long time. Can you tell me about that?
Since 2010 when we first started writing Storyweaving, and now we’re into Weaving Reconciliation.

A lot of the stories that I bring to this process are my lived stories. We just did the scene [in rehearsal] of the boat to Kuper Island, scene 8. And that was a real trip that I took with my family to go there when I was very young. All the memories that come up during this scene are also lived memories of cod fishing with my family. Real moments like when that old pink salmon did fly into dads bunk.

Someone told me a long time ago that as first nations people we don’t need to create stories – we already have them, we’ve lived them. And those are the stories that I carry in my memory that I draw from in my work and everything that I do.

How is it seeing your work in rehearsal?
Emotional. It’s interesting how when you go back in your memory to those lived stories how some of the small details become so real again. And the small details aren’t actually small, they’re very large details that make the story even more real again.

Where did the decision to call this story Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way come from?
Our workshops had a lot to do with it. Researching and looking up the definitions of what reconciliation means. Because there were so many definitions to it. It’s such a big unwieldy word, it’s hard to wrap our head around it. We have always been reconciling, since contact. Whether it has been personally, or in a larger picture we have always been reconciling. We are working on reconciliation our own way now. So Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way just seemed to fit. The theme of the show, the show itself. Because it’s just what we always do, what we’ve always had to do.

Rosemary Georgeson facilitating a youth workshop

What does reconciliation look like to you?
Being able to go home and go fishing with my grandson. That’s a complete day. And being allowed to do it.

What does reconciliation look like? What is it supposed to look like? No one knows what it’s supposed to look like, what it’s supposed to be like, so I guess it’s those moments of being able to do what you know so well, and finding the comfort in the fact that you can still do them. I don’t think we have the answers to what reconciliation looks like, any of us, because we’ve never done it before, except personally.

What’s next for you?
Going home and spending time with my family. Going home to Galliano. Becoming connected again to the place that I’m from.

 Places to find Rosemary:

Posted by Julia Siedlanowska

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