By Lynn Gehl Gii-Zhigaate-Mnidoo-Kwe| March 26, 2013
As most Canadians know Stompin' Tom Connors (1936-2013) recently passed away into the spirit world. Although I was not familiar with his music, I was familiar with his name. As a younger person I remember moments when it was stated that my biological father had a friendship with Stompin' Tom. I assumed this relationship emerged through the bar rooms of Toronto and throughout Ontario, yet at other times I wondered what my father and Stompin' Tom held in common.
I have since listened to a few of his songs and I was struck by the lyrics of his life's song titled "The Ballad of Stompin' Tom." Through listening to this song I learned that he was a state created orphan, and through reading about him I learned that his father was part French and part Indigenous. It was here that I was able to make the connection. My father's ancestry is similar to this and my father was also a stated created orphan. Regardless of the fact that natural law rules over man made institutions, my father and Stompin' Tom were conceived and born during a time when a child born out of wedlock was a shameful event. While Stompin' Tom was torn from his mother’s side by the strong arm of the law, my father was abandoned by his mother who was struggling with the changes that colonization imposed on Indigenous women. While at one time children were considered gifts of Creation, settler religion and settler law changed this.