I thought I would introduce myself as not many members know the real me.
Here is my, a very interesting introduction: "the real me".
Parents: Henry Drake and Florence (Maiden name - Good)
Grandparents: Louis and Sybil Good (Snuneymuxw)
I was born in Campbell River on March 20, 1952. I really don't know too much about by father, Henry Drake, because of Residential School. I returned home in the summer time when my father was out fishing. Our parents separated while we were in Residential School, and our mother moved to Nanaimo. Leaving Residential School was a huge relief for us, but it was short lived as were placed in foster homes. Our mother passed away at the age of 40 and our father at the age of 45. My brothers are Henry, Wayne, Orville and Darrell. My sisters are Teresa and Florence. Florence lives in Qualicum and the rest of us live in Nanaimo City area.
In 1990, my daughter and I were initiated into the longhouse. This was a totally new path for me and the best decision I ever made. My traditional name is C'ta'si:a, a name connected to my great-grandmother, Jenny Wyse. In 2000, I was elected in as a council member. I held that position for 12 years, my term ended in 2012.
I started working for the Nation back in the early 70's, as an Archaeologist field assistant. The very first project was with Duke Point burial recovers. Today, I am very knowledgeable in identifying artifacts and human remains. In 1980, Emily Manson, my late mother-in-law, joined the Elders group, which back then consisted of Margaret James, Hazel Good, Eva Thomas, Marnie Frenchie, Dorothy Beale, and Anderson Tommy. I joined my mother-in-law when they would come together in the old church basement; the Elders would be doing wool prep from the raw stage to spinning. They would share songs, stories and teach us language along the way. The late Barb White and Kay George were their supervisors.
There are many memories of these times. One particular time was when I had just finished the Long-term Care Program up at Malaspina College and was excited to tell the Elders that I was going to enroll in the Practicum Nursing Program. My mother-in-law said, "Gerry, we don't want you to go back to school to be governed by rules, regulations and time. We need you to stay here with us, to continue to learn the history, the land, and to learn the language, and be our voice, eyes and legs when we can no longer do so. " I have been with the Elders since that time. Many Elders passed teachings, wisdom, and left life stories with me, something I would not have received if I had chosen to continue my education.
My husband Earl (Butch) Manson and I have three children, Tina Manson, Derrick and Darrin Manson; seven grandchildren, and one great-grandson. Earl and I have been together since 1966, married officially in 1972. Today, I work part-time with Snuneymuxw as the Cultural Coordinator and part-time at Vancouver Island University as the "Elder-in-Residence".