International Women’s Day 2021: Ogimaamaashiik / Matilda Martin

by Braden Murray

International Women’s Day 2021—

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of Kenora area women.

Ogimaamaashiik | Matilda Martin c1904

On April 29, 1885, a baby was born to Mary Lindsay of the Dalles Reserve (now Niisaachewan Anishinabe Nation) and Benjamin Lavergne. The baby, Ogimaamaashiik, was only an infant when her mother died and so she was left in the care of her grandparents, Chief Thomas Lindsay and Jane Lindsay.

At age 19 she married John Kipling, a Metis missionary, who had been hired to teach at the federally-funded day school on the reserve. She worked alongside her husband at the day school until his early death from pneumonia when their son John was only one year old. She did remarry several years later, taking Edward Martin as her husband. Together they had six children. Matilda Martin also opened her home for foster children, giving a home to 11 children over the years. Matilda Martin’s descendants now number in the hundreds— a legacy of love and kindness.

Photographer unknown

Did you know?

The editor of the local newspaper pushed for Kenora to be named “Tresilva” instead.  He thought the word was excellent because it could be written without lifting the pen off the paper. The name Tresilva was tremendously unpopular with the townsfolk and was quickly abandoned.