|(Image 1: Mary Mitchell. Photographer: Unknown)|
Mary Mitchell in Moosonee 1958-1959:
Mary’s eagerness for a new challenge compelled her to send out applications to “places that [she] imagined to be very remote from Scarborough”, despite knowing nothing about them. She soon received a call from the school in Moosonee for a position in a junior room (Grades 1-4). After 24 hours of deliberations Mary accepted the position and set off for Moosonee (Image 2) by train. The next year was a challenge for Mary but she soon settled into northern life. After considering her career goals Mary resigned from her position in the spring of 1959 and went home to London, Ontario to begin new studies at the London Bible Institute.
|(Image 2: Moosonee Photos. Photographer: Mary Mitchell)|
Mary Mitchell in Eastmain 1962-1969:
Only three years later, Mary returned to the James Bay region in 1962, when she began teaching in Eastmain (Image 3). After teaching in Eastmain for six years, Mary realized that the seventh would be her last and she left in June 1969 to realize her dream of completing a bachelor’s degree.
|(Image 3: Eastmain Clinic and Band Office. Photographer: Mary Mitchell)|
Mary Mitchell in Fort George (Chisasibi) 1972 – 1973:
After completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, Mary was once again called back to the north. In the fall of 1972 Mary arrived in Fort George (Chisasibi) to begin another school year. Mary only stayed in Fort George (Image 4) for one year, leaving in the spring of 1973 to take up a position as a classroom consultant in Thunder Bay for the following fall.
|(Image 3: Fort George Photos. Photographer: Mary Mitchell)|
Life after Eeyou Istchee:
After her time as a classroom consultant, Mary moved on to teach at Confederation College, Lakehead University, Mid Canada Bible College (Thunder Bay), and Marmara University (Turkey). Mary made significant contributions to education during this time; especially at Lakehead University, where she helped to establish the diploma program in Native Language Instruction.
Details of Mary Mitchell’s Collection:
The collected documents, objects, and photographs of Mary show that she cherished her time working as a teacher in Eeyou Istchee. Mary’s personal memoirs demonstrate her attachment to the region and express her unhappiness when this part of her life came to an end. Mary wrote that she “had been at home on the coast of James Bay in three different communities, since 1958, and now there was a good chance of [her] never being back here again.”
Mary’s archival material offers a special opportunity to learn about her experiences and different perspectives on life in Eeyou Istchee:
|(Image 5: Eastmain Yearbook)|
|(Image 6: The People of Eeyou Istchee. Photographer: Mary Mitchell)|
|(Image 7: Mary's Rattles)|
|(Image 8: Mary's Octopus Bag)|