Eddy Robinson is an Anishinaabe/Muskegowuk Cree of the Missanabie Cree First Nation who was born and raised in the city of Toronto. Like many Indigenous people in Canada, Robinson did not enjoy an easy childhood as an Anishinaabe youth in the big city. His father – a Residential School survivor – left the family when he was just three years old. Robinson subsequently endured years of abuse from an alcoholic parent. Only in his adult years was Robinson able to understand the legacy of his father’s experience at Chapleau Indian Residential School and Shingwauk Indian Residential School.
Eventually ending up in the care of his grandparents, Robinson found himself caught in the same cycle of violence and addiction that dominated his childhood. He credits a Catholic priest at the Native Peoples Parish located in Toronto for first encouraging him to seek out his roots. He pointed Robinson to a traditional Anishinaabe Vision Quest/Fasting held at “Dreamers Rock” located on Manitoulin Island, ON; that would imminently begin his journey towards understanding his Indigenous identity and helping him leave behind the family legacy of abuse and violence.
The power of the "Dewegun" (Drum) brought Robinson to the doorway of ceremony and other aspects of his Indigenous Way of Knowing. It was during the early years that he was first exposed called him to a heritage that he now credits with saving his life and setting him on a good path in life. Over the past 25 years of working on the frontline of social services and advocating for Indigenous communities locally, provincially and nationally Robinson has evolved into a noted Anishinaabe artist, musician, educator, facilitator, trainer and public speaker. He’s involved with numerous local district school boards, colleges, universities, corporate institutions and several Indigenous/Aboriginal organizations.
In support of his qualifications, Robinson completed a Master of Education Degree from York University as well as a graduate diploma in Urban Environments. He is a member of the Missanabie Cree First Nation, which has given him the foundation to effectively represent Indigenous ways of knowing. He has a partial fluency in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway language) and over the past 30 years Robinson has participated, lead and facilitated cultural events.
With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada putting forth 94 recommendations for residential school healing, Robinson engages the TRC through a personal narrative. He discusses growing up as an urban Indigenous person and his professional experience with Indigenous organizations on local, provincial and national levels. Robinson emphasizes the utter importance of engaging Indigenous people in a respectful and reciprocal way. Reconciliation for Robinson is not only a personal journey of forgiveness of self and others in support of past generations but is very much about being mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually part of this legacy of resurgence. Robinson encourages non-Indigenous people to seek out a deeper understanding of what it means to be Anishinaabe, Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and Inuit before stepping on the path of reconciliation. A member of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business Robinson established his First Nations-owned and operated business Morningstar River in 2007 to address the societal need for Indigenous education and displays of authentic culture. Awards: Wabnode Institute-Cambrian College, Elizabeth Osawamick Memorial Scholarship for Ojibway Language, Sudbury, ON.
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