Saturday, June 04, 2005

''AFTER 40 YEARS''there's still more out there.

Amazin what u find when u Google a name.Oh.Oh!

See what happens when the government decides you don't have a family.

It don't matter that u believe that u do or not. I heard stories about Nelson for years.Just think he could have come home years ago if some1 believed him. I wonderhow many more from this Rez are out there. And from other Rez's across Canada.
Every year here some1 comes home
looking for family. I had a brother
show up but i missed him. If it's the same guy or
another one.
2 years ago some1 with the same last name was lookin for family

my neph sent them to my home but i was'nt home. It's all the younger brothers left i think anyway. Oh well our paths will cross agin.


After 40 years
in institutions, Nelson reunites with family
Thursdsay August 8, 2002
Michelle Strutzenberger and Linda Viscardis
Nelson Ashkewe always clung to the hope that he would see his family again, though that hope grew thinner and thinner as the years passed.

Institutionalized as a child, he spent over 40 years in eleven different institutions. In the shuffle, all of his personal history records were lost.

At the last institution he stayed in, the Southwestern Regional Centre in Blenheim, he was told he was a 'citizen of the world' and had no living relatives. Nelson knew better, but it was difficult for him to communicate this with his intellectual disability. Nobody would listen to him.

In the early nineties, the Blenheim institution began to support people in moving out and back into a community setting. Nelson, at the age of 49 years, was one of those selected to make this move.

He was taken to Wallaceburg, because it contains a native community, Walpole Island. Since Nelson is native, it was thought it would be beneficial to have a reserve nearby.

There he met Sandra Browning from Wallaceburg Community Living, and she became his primary support worker. He decided to try telling her about his lost family.

"He started talking to me about a brother Raymond and sister Barb," says Sandra. "I told him he didn't have a brother and sister, and he insisted, 'yes, he did,' and 'I have a mom and dad,' he said. He talked about driving with his brother and running into a tree, and that his dad fell in the kitchen and died."

Finally somebody listened to him. Sandra decided there might be something to Nelson's story and took action. She sent letters to all the reserves in the area that had a larger population of Ashkewes, asking if they had ever heard of a Nelson Ashkewe.

Before any of them could reply, however, Nelson's story was confirmed in another way.

Sandra and Nelson had gone to a seminar up in Port Elgin. During the wine and cheese party that followed, a man approached Nelson and chatted with him as if they were old buddies. When Sandra inquired, the stranger explained that he recognized Nelson from a group home he had lived in previously.

Sandra grabbed the opportunity - finally, somebody from Nelson's past -- and asked him if he knew if Nelson had any family and if so, where they might be.

"Oh yeah,' he said. 'He has a whole [load] of family up in Cape Croker,'" Sandra recounts.

The very next day, Sandra and Nelson piled into a vehicle to head up to Cape Croker. They went, ostensibly to the local band office to inquire about applying for a native status card for Nelson, but they were also hoping to meet up with some of Nelson's family.

It happened sooner than they expected. When they asked the girl in the band office about the card, she took out her pen and said, preparing to write it down, "For whom?"

"We told her Nelson Ashkewe," says Sandra. "The girl says, 'He already has a card.' I said, 'Not this Nelson.' So then she asked how old he was. I told her. She said, 'Oh my gawd, he's my brother-in-law.'"

She immediately called Nelson's mother's home to tell her the news, but she had just left for an appointment. They made plans to meet as a family, and then Nelson and Sandra left for home.

As they were driving out of Cape Croker, a pickup truck sped past them, horn honking, and then slowed down, indicating them to pull over. They did and the driver of the other vehicle jumped out and ran towards. "Do you have my brother?" he called. "If your brother's Nelson Ashkewe, then yes, we do," said Sandra. The two brothers hugged and cried.

That was in 1991. Nelson now visits his mother and family several times a year. He has eight brothers, six sisters, and 25 nieces and nephews. He loves taking plenty of pictures when he visits with them and they all spend lots of time catching up on their lives.


Blogger adamized3 said...

Nelson is a wonderful man. I had the pleasure to assist Nelson as one of his support workers during the years 1990 to 1993. We shared many experiences and much humor. He is an exceptionally genuine and important human being and my life would have been much less had I not met him in Wallaceburg while I worked for Community living Association. Thank you for posting this touching story about Nelson. He truly found his family and added to it by the many others he met during his search. Sincerely, Chris Adams.

9:06 PM  

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