About Jack

jack-photo1

Jack was born in 1953 in Toronto.

He currently resides in Guelph Ontario with his wife Heather and his two sons, Jacob and Daniel.

He grew up fishing with his Dad and went on his first canoe trip when he was 15.

It was in Algonquin Park, as most first canoe trips are. He HATED it!

Jack loved the outdoors, but his first canoe trip with his best friend and his older brother was the longest three days of his life!

Jack has never missed a year in which he went on another canoe trip ever since!

Go figure!

Jack was a Junior Forest Ranger when he was 17 at Cochrane Ontario. It is here where he realized an immediate attachment to Aboriginals. Jack spent his time with both Cree and non-Cree but discovered a special affection for our First Nations people.

Jack did his undergraduate at the University of Alberta, where he graduated with an Honours degree in zoology. He had taken his first course in Cree language.

Jack then did anM.Sc. in Biology at the University of Calgary.

He returned to Cochrane for many years and in the early 1980’s ran a trap line on the Abitibi River by Onakawana. His mentors and his friends were the Cree of Moose River and Moosonee/Moose Factory. He was affectionately known as the “Mad Trapper or Trapper Jack”. Even the Cree were surprised (not quite sure they were impressed J )that a person would live in the bush and run a trap line by themselves.

In the early to mid-1980’s, Jack lived in New Brunswick for several years where he did a Ph.D. in Biology and worked in the area north of the Miramichi. He frequented the Burnt Church Reserve. Jack constantly found himself being called to be with the Aboriginal peoples and was sensitive to their plight for fair treatment in this country.

Jack later became a high school teacher (U of Ottawa) and had continued to expand his canoe tripping experiences, which included many solo trips to Temagami, James Bay and eventually Hudson Bay at Fort Severn and the Seal River in Manitoba.

Jack had two boys, Jacob and Daniel. He took them tripping with him since they were each 6 and 8 years of age. It was always one canoe.

Eventually, it became Jack and Daniel. At age 11 Daniel and his Dad did the Mara-Burnside and paddled across the Arctic Circle to Bathurst Inlet. At age 13, Dan and his Dad did the mighty Mountain River in the North West Territories. There were multiple other training rivers such as the Montreal, the Petawawa, the Missinaibi, the Spanish and the Sutton.

Jack and the boys had also spent time in Peawanuck and Moosonee and Moose Factory. Jacob and Daniel had been introduced to our wonderful first Nations people.

In the mid 2000’, Jack wanted to share his passion for the land and our Aboriginal peoples with his students at Centre Wellington DHS in Fergus.

He established the CW Aboriginal Exchange Program. They went on exchange trips with Repulse Bay, Nunavut, Natuashish Labrador, Peigani Blackfoot Reserve in southern Alberta and most recently with Coral Harbour Nunavut.

Jack also established the student based CW Aboriginal Club. The Club was responsible for such initiatives as having pillars in the school cafeteria painted separately by Metis, First Nations and Inuit artists. They constructed a giant medicine wheel representing Inuit, Metis and First Nations people on the front lawn of the school and they brought in guest speakers on such difficult topics as Residential Schools, and Health related prejudices against First Nations people in Toronto. Jack was invited to speak to the Lakehead University Faculty of Education on his school’s initiatives in the fall of 2010. The Club also supported a number of Native craft and Drumming workshops, as well as a school wide assembly on Shanne’s Dream and a fundraiser for the students of Attawapiskat in which the monies went equally to both the elementary and secondary schools for an Elder in the Classroom program.

Jack recently completed an Additional Qualification Course in Native Studies at Queen’s University. It was the first of its kind offered in Ontario.

In 2011, Jack and his good friend Naomi (Chippewas of  Nawash) founded the Aboriginal Heritage Festival in Fergus.

Admission to the Festival is by donation and all monies collected are in turn donated to SOADI (Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative).

These monies are used to help promote a new initiative called, PADDLE (Paddle Against Diabetes Display Love for Earth).

In July 2012, SOADI, under the direction of Crystal MacDonald, and myself (Jack Frimeth) initiated the program on 2 levels. The COMMUNITY PADDLE at Six Nations and Jack’s personal canoe trips.

In July 2012, Jack soloed the Kattawagami River to Moose Factory and raised a small amount of money for the Weeneebayko Diabetes Health Unit in Moose Factory.

In July 2013, Jack will be going solo down the remote Notakwanon River in northern Labrador and finishing at the community of Natuashish (nee Davis Inlet).

Jack is also continuing his efforts to nurture better relationships through cultural understanding between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal peoples. He is trying to promote a national program of partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities on a small grass roots level. He feels that small and more intimate relationships can be more successful on a more local scale.