Monday April 30th I was walking to a friends house from downtown Port Arthur to Cumberland and Wolsey St.I got to about the shoreline hotel and was approached from a native woman I’m gonna guess her age to be Around mid to late 40s.
Any way as she was approaching me she was heading toward downtown she had asked if I had a quarter or spare change for a coffee.So I dug in my pocket had like 6$ in change but I gave her a Twoonie and suggested McDonald’s across the street any size coffee for 1$ I think.
But she asks me what time it is I tell her 545 pm and she says to me I’m sorry but I lied I’m an alcoholic and I’m gonna use this change to get a beer.
I was briefly upset for about 3 sec then told her I won’t judge you and said let’s get a move on if you wanna make liquor store by 6 pm.
As we walked along I asked her a few questions and told her I’d give her the rest of my change if she doesn’t mind answering a few questions and she was polite so the 1st question was are you homeless and I got a yes response then I asked how long you been alcoholic and homeless and she had told me on and off most her life with longest clean spell ended with a family death 7 year ago but she had been drug and alcohol free for 3 yrs prior.
I then asked if she found Thunder Bay racist as a homeless native women and she says there is some hear but nowhere near as bad as Winnipeg where she had come from 2 yrs ago
She has told me she has used the shelter house a few times when real cold and get food from there or churches.
We got to liquor store I had given her all my change totaling $6.60. She went in I didn’t pay attention to what she had purchased but we stood there and chatted.
I offered her a smoke and she said no you’ve done enough but she took it and said use it for trade later ???maybe for a drink.
I enjoyed talking with her and mentioned following some group chats and a lot of discussion around the Thunder center crowd and natives in the rivers And I asked her if she could give me her opinions from her perspective This woman has proceeded to tell me her either husband or boyfriend had dragged a friend out last summer and apparently media’s had showed up as well as obviously fire rescue police and Ems and her man was in the picture in the paper.
I had asked if she knew what happened and she tells me the woman who ended up needing to be saved was extremely intoxicated but was also mentally ill and someone had stolen her medication that caused her to snap and get crazy and this woman’s opinion was that the other woman in the water wanted to commit suicide because they’ve all been living along the floodway and drunk for days at a time.
I had to leave but one question before I left and I asked are you happy with where you are she tells me she knows she looks bad to her family and the community but she’s ok with that you get used to a certain lifestyle and just accept this is what life has given her.
I told her I’m sorry but can’t give you any more money as I didn’t want to enable any more Than I already did and had no cash left.
This woman seemed to me to accept this is the life she was meant to live she told me that the drinking and alcholoism help her accept it and eventually you just give up and accept it.
I told her as I was leaving that I enjoyed meeting her while coherent and if I see her around and she sober I’d like to chat more so she said back and forth between Thunder center and Cumberland liquor store and asked her to stay away from the river and try keep the others away.