James Hodgson is the owner of Nish Tees and the designated t-shirt supplier in support of Debwewin: The Oakville Truth Project. A member of the Anishinaabe Loon Clan, James has a special connection to Oakville and understands the importance of recognizing the original inhabitants of the land we call home.
As an Indigenous ward of the Crown in the 1970s, James was adopted into a non-Indigenous family and grew up in Oakville. He attended pre-school at Sheridan College and went to public school at Lorne Skuce and Montclair before going to White Oaks Secondary School. James eventually came back to attend Sheridan College for Media Arts in the early 90s.
“This was a time in my life where I felt incredibly isolated, despite having a loving family and many friends,” he said. “Growing up, I was always supposed to be someone else’s ‘Indian,’ but never allowed to find out more about my own culture, traditions, or to learn about how my culture came to be so difficult to experience in the hometown that I so adored.”
Looking back now, James has come to understand that the isolation he felt was the result of a complete absence of any Anishinaabe cultural evidence around him. It was as if his people had been erased from the landscape.
Now based in Peterborough, James was thrilled to be reconnected with Oakville in a new and special way. “I am overjoyed to see that you have a website dedicated to the treaties,” James said. “They have such an impact on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples that live in Oakville today, and I look forward to learning more about our shared heritage.”