Walter helped me in so many ways…

Would like to send out a big birthday shout out to a dear friend of mine Mr Walter Cooke. I met Walter and Debbie 24 years ago at a weekend conference in the Guelph area for some traditional teachings.

I grew up not knowing my self identity didn’t know much about my Indigenous background and this conference was a beginning that would change my life forever. Walter helped me in so many ways through out the years with his guidance and support. I have overcome some struggles through out the years and I am truly grateful that I am sober today because of Walter, He has helped me gain confidence, self esteem and find my self Identity.

One of my biggest accomplishments in my life was bringing Henvey Inlets very first pow wow to my home community. After my father had made his journey to the spirit world I envisioned bringing a pow wow to my community and Walter helped me write a letter to submit to chief and council 15 years ago. Henvey Inlet has become an annual pow wow going on it’s 14th year and we have our own traditional grounds now, our pow wow is growing every year.

Another achievement for me was Walter Cooke helping to get the Protecting Mother Earth gathering, it started back in 2007, it was another dream of mine to bring Youth and Elders together to share stories and teachings. Walter was instrumental in keeping the gathering to continue after I had stepped back.

There are many stories I would love to share about Walter and my family all the great times we had at March Break camp playing Broom Ball or Stories around the fire.

I am truly humbled and honored that Mr. Cooke is part of my spiritual well being…..Chi miigwetch and have an awesome day my friend.

— Rod Nettagog
Anishinaabe, Bear Clan

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